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Health & Medicine

Caregiving – The Tough Assignment!


By Dr. Sue Leger-Krall ARNP PhD, Director of Home and Community Based Services

eing the caregiver for an elderly loved one has become common place in our society, and this role even has its own unique label - the “sandwich generation”. This term aptly describes how caregivers can feel “squeezed” between caring for their own families and their own needs while also caring for their elderly parents / loved ones. Many working spouses are also facing this new reality when they find themselves being a caregiver to their spouse due to either physical or cognitive changes. This is especially difficult if the caregiver spouse is still working, which so many of us “boomers” are continuing to do during these economic times. River Garden can offer you a life line and expert assistance if you find yourself in one of these caregiver situations. We

offer many levels of assistance, starting with a Caregiver Support group held the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 3:30 PM in the Nestler Library here on the River Garden campus. This support group has been functioning for over 17 years and typically focuses on coping mechanisms and sharing information. We have often heard that there is no better expert than the person in the day-to-day trenches of caregiving. Many times participants have remarked that attendance in the group is so helpful for them to simply laugh and cry with others who understand their unique situation. The most helpful information is often the admonition to the caregiver to find ways to “care for yourself.” River Garden also offers a wonderful Adult Day Care Program for people with any memory disorder who are at the early to mid stage of their cognitive disease. The program is open Monday through Friday from 7AM – 6PM, to assist the working caregiver to easily drop off and pick up. We offer morning transportation within a 10 mile radius, all 3 meals, as well as 2 nutritious snacks. The day program environment allows participants to interact with their peers and enjoy a stimulating and enriching day. Activities are geared to the person’s functional level and capabilities. Many families might use the day program to give themselves respite from the day-to-day job of caregiving. Many studies now tout the positive outcomes of people who participate in adult day care programs, including increased self esteem, socialization and less behavioral

(Left to right): daughter dropping off her dad, an Adult Day Care client; Dr. Marcela Pop, River Garden Clinic Attending Physician issues. We are told that families appreciate when their loved ones return home, fed and well cared for. Persons in our adult day care program can also access our bathing services, as well as our onsite salon / barber shop. With a physician’s order, they can also receive physical therapy in our newly renovated outpatient Rehab /Therapy Department. The newest service addition for adult day care participants is access to our onsite outpatient medical clinic, staffed Monday through Friday by Dr. Marcela Pop, a Baptist Health System physician. This conve-

nience now allows busy families to bring their loved ones to a doctor visit within the regular adult day care day time, involving less travel and disruption. It also offers access if the attendee becomes ill during the daytime while in our program. Caregiving is still a tough assignment but one that many families choose to embrace – River Garden is here to offer help on this journey! For further information on these or other services contact Dr. Krall at

Susan Leger-Krall, ARNP, Ph.D. is Director of Home and Community-Based Services at River Garden Hebrew Home in Jacksonville. Dr. Leger-Krall’s background includes over 40 years in nursing education and clinical practice with the elderly. Her master’s degree in nursing is from the University of Texas; her ARNP certificate was completed post master’s at the University of Florida, where she also completed her doctorate in Nursing, specializing in aging and dementia studies. She is a specialist in the care of individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, and is the Clinical Director of River Garden’s Home Health Care agency and Adult Day Care Program. Dr. Leger-Krall previously served as a member of Florida’s Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) committee and also the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association, Central and North Florida chapter. She was a past recipient of the Florida Nurses Association Great 100 Nurses Award for the state of Florida.

June/July 2014


San Jose Woman's Journal - June/July 2014  
San Jose Woman's Journal - June/July 2014  

Objective, Informational, Educational, for Women