Caregivers for those with dementia are offered a 'day off'

By: Brendan Losinski | Southfield Sun | Published November 17, 2023

 During a free "day off" program, caregivers can enjoy yoga, massage therapy, and gardening.

During a free "day off" program, caregivers can enjoy yoga, massage therapy, and gardening.

Photo provided by Alison Schwartz


SOUTHFIELD — Those responsible for caring for a loved one with a condition like dementia are invited to enjoy a relaxing event to hopefully lighten their load.

Caregivers Day Off is hosted by the Gesher Human Services nonprofit and is designed to be a relaxing, enjoyable, and supportive event for metro Detroiters responsible for the care of loved ones.

The event is being offered on Sunday, Dec. 3 by the Dorothy and Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Program at its West Bloomfield location. Adults living with dementia will be dropped off at the Brown Program, located at 6720 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield, at 10 a.m. and caregivers will then walk across to the Lillian and Samuel Hechtman Senior Apartments, located at 6700 W. Maple Road, for the day’s activities which begin at 10.30 a.m. and finish at 3 p.m.

Attendees will benefit from yoga, massage therapy, music for the soul and gardening along with some educational activities designed to help make their day-to-day lives easier. Snacks and lunch will be provided. The Brown Program, a joint initiative of Gesher Human Services and Jewish Senior Life, provides innovative and engaging activities and care for those living with dementia along with support for their families at its two centers in West Bloomfield and Southfield. It welcomes people of all beliefs and faiths.

To register for the program, which has limited spaces, call Sharilyn Rowe at (248) 592-5032 by Wednesday, Nov. 22.

“We truly respect everything that caregivers do for their loved ones but in their dedication, they often neglect to spend time looking after their own needs,” Debi Banooni, the director of the Brown Program, said in a press release. “Our program gives local caregivers — and we know there are many — a well-deserved opportunity to enjoy themselves, knowing that their loved ones are being taken care of by professionals. They will also find that while their own situation is individualized, they are not alone in the caregiving journey, as illustrated by much recent research.”

The organizers said that the event is being hosted due to recent surveys showing the large number of Americans who are caring for loved ones with dementia and other chronic illnesses. A report in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Journal, a well known medical journal, in July 2023 showed that 11.2% of adults age 65 or older in Michigan have Alzheimer’s Disease, equating to 202,800 individuals.

They added that a report by AARP earlier in the year found that family caregivers provide $600 billion in unpaid care across the U.S. and that there are 38 million family caregivers who devote 36 billion hours of free care to older parents, spouses, partners and friends with chronic, disabling and serious health conditions.