In 2021, President Biden issued a proclamation honoring caregivers, saying “Every day, millions of Americans provide essential care and medical assistance to their loved ones. These acts of love, commitment, and compassion enable their family members to receive the support they need to live a life with dignity.”
The importance and challenges of family caregiving cannot be overstated. Managing medications, getting to doctor appointments, and making sure everything is ok—all while balancing work and home—is a tremendous task and can be overwhelming.
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 as often as possible.
- 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, guidance, or simply a sympathetic ear, SeniorCare has several services to help you, including Caregiver Support Groups that meet in-person and virtually, one to one counseling, and—in some circumstances—respite care. Call 978-281-1750 and ask to speak with the Caregiver Support Specialist for information.
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 www.eldercare.acl.gov. 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 the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
SeniorCare understands the challenges of being a family caregiver and is available to help through the Family Caregiver Support program. SeniorCare’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on September 22, 2022, at the Beauport Hotel will focus on the needs of caregivers and a portion of the funds raised by this event will be used directly for Caregiver Support services. For more information and reservations to the celebration, visit www.seniorcareinc.org.