“Family caregivers have an immeasurable impact on the lives of those they assist, but their hours are long and their work is hard. Many put their own lives on hold to lift up someone close to them.”
President Barack Obama
National Family Caregivers Month, 2012
November 1, 2012
The Family Caregiver Support Specialist at the Alliance for Aging works with the family unit to help coordinate appropriate services for both the client and caregiver(s). Whether the client and caregiver live in the same home or separately, we try to link them to resources which will provide the best fit for the needs presented. We offer support to the caregivers by offering education, support, and training of individuals and groups. We emphasize on providing caring and compassionate consideration to each individual situation. Caregivers may contact us as their needs change and know that we will work with them to meet these changes. The relationship between the Caregiver Support Specialist and caregiver is ongoing.
Caregivers are as varied as the tasks they perform. They are daughters, sons, wives, husbands, grandchildren, other family members and, sometimes, friends. They accomplish a wide range of responsibilities, which sometimes are manageable; yet, other times can become overwhelming. This, in part, depends on the level of care a loved one needs as well as any number of other responsibilities the caregiver may be juggling (job outside of the home, meeting the demands of their own families). The “sandwich generation” is growing, too. They are caregivers who are raising their children while caring for their aging parents at the same time.
Caring for an older, ill or disabled person can present challenges. Caregivers who are informed about their loved one’s illness or condition will be better equipped to deal with it more effectively. Education is key. It is important for caregivers to become as informed as they can about their role and support services available to them within their communities. They must plan for the immediate needs as well as for the future.
Caregivers must take care of themselves, too! Stress and exhaustion are the most common conditions expressed by caregivers. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep and rest, making time to spend with family, friends, as well as taking part in activities that are enjoyable and provide a break from caregiving. Support groups can provide education, as well as companionship and solace. Caregiving can lead to isolation and this contributes to higher stress levels. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Remember, your loved ones are counting on you to stay healthy so that you may provide care for them the care that they need.
To speak with the Family Caregiver Support Specialist at the Alliance, please contact Nancy Victoria at (305) 670-6500, ext 11254.