A caregiver’s transition

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Caring for a loved one with memory issues can weigh heavy on a caregiver.

Since getting married 41 years ago, Ken and Sandi Vietor have spent almost no time apart.
But in 2015 Ken was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and earlier this year the disease left the two living separately for the first time.

“Ken started to exhibit some real exit seeking behaviors. A lot of people talk about wandering with dementia. Ken was not wandering. Ken was on a mission to get out of here. And sadly for him, I think he was afraid,” Sandi said.

In March, Ken moved into memory care assisted living at Good Sam. It was an emotional decision, but one Sandi says was necessary.

“Maybe that caregiver isn’t sleeping at night or, or feels like they can’t leave them alone for five minutes. We’re 100% secure here. They’re going to be safe. They have this great courtyard. They could go out and, go throughout the neighborhood,” Harris said.

Tony Harris says caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be challenging, and making a decision like this can be even more so.

But as a caregiver, caring for yourself is important too.

“I’m able to give them support groups, give them connections out in the community if they want to talk to someone, and just be their person to contact when they have questions on how their loved one’s doing, building that relationship with them and helping them through it,” Harris said.

While Sandi says Ken is still missed at home, she’s found the positives in knowing her husband is safe.

“Some people ask if it’s a relief. I probably wouldn’t call it as much of a relief, but there is a trade off, you know, there’s that big piece of life missing. And then there’s this little, maybe piece that’s better because I’m not as worried. I do not have to worry about him being out in the traffic. I do not have to worry about as wellbeing,” Sandi said.

If you’re interested in learning more about Good Sam’s assisted living memory care unit, click here.

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