November is National Family Caregiver Month, and is a time to thank and honor the 40+ million unpaid caregivers in the U.S.
President Joe Biden issued a proclamation honoring caregivers, saying “Family caregivers are the backbone of our Nation’s long-term care system, doing essential work with devotion, often at great emotional and financial cost. We owe them. It is time to bring their service out of the shadows and celebrate and support them in living their own happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.”
The importance and challenges of family Caregiving cannot be overstated. Managing medications. Getting to doctor appointments. Making sure everything is ok, while balancing work and home. How can family caregivers handle it all? The National Family Caregivers Association offers the following tips for Family Caregivers.
- Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
- Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
- Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help when you need it.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
- Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
- Make sure legal documents are in order.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
Caregivers are rising to the demands and challenges of their role every day. If you are a caregiver and find yourself needing some help and/or guidance, SeniorCare has several services to help you. Call 978-281-1750 and ask to speak with the Caregiver Support Specialist.
Are you a long-distance caregiver with a loved one who depends on you on the other end of the country? Long-distance caregivers take on different roles. You may:
- Help with finances, money management, or bill paying
- Arrange for in-home care—hire professional caregivers or home health or nursing aides and help get needed durable medical equipment
- Locate care in an assisted living facility or nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility)
- Provide emotional support and occasional respite care for a primary caregiver, the person who takes on most of the everyday caregiving responsibilities
- Serve as an information coordinator—research health problems or medicines, help navigate through a maze of new needs, and clarify insurance benefits and claims
- Keep family and friends updated and informed
- Create a plan and get paperwork in order in case of an emergency
- Evaluate the house and make sure it’s safe for the older person’s needs
Over time, as your family member’s needs change, so will your role as long-distance caregiver.
To learn about resources in your loved one’s state, visit the online Eldercare Locator at eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx. This website is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and will help connect you to services for older adults. If you prefer to call, you can call 1-800-677-1116.
Whether you are caring for a loved one living in your home or caring from a distance, caregiving can a difficult and task. AARP researchers found that 1 in 10 caregivers have no one to talk to about private matters and 1 in 5 have no one to call for help. Make sure you don’t forget to take care of yourself.