If the trend continues, statistics from the Mayo Clinic indicate that the current number of people suffering from dementia will explode from 4.5 million to more than 9 million by 2050.
The Tender has been providing care to frail seniors and persons with Alzheimer’s disease/dementia in Burlington County NJ since 1977. Over the past 40+ years we have seen our population grow from a small group of frail seniors looking for socialization to a group that is dementia oriented. The name, The Tender, refers to the small boat (a tender) that ferries passengers from the shore to the waiting ship, a gentle metaphor for the journey of aging.
Most of our clients come from Burlington County with 99% living with a family member. Many live with an elderly, ill spouse and most live with adult children who have spouses and young children of their own. This multi-generational living situation is stressful at best but with the addition of advancing dementia, wandering and incontinence it quickly becomes overwhelming. The Tender not only provides a safe, caring place for the client but also a window of time free from worry for the caregiver.
The most recent problem we’ve confronted is caring for the caregivers. We established a support program, CARES (Compassion, Access, Respite, Education & Support), which includes a monthly group meeting that offers care, information and education and allows caregivers to voice the overwhelming issues they face on a daily basis; this interactive web site and a lending library with dementia specific resources.
Virtually all of our clients are at imminent risk of institutionalization.