The Savvy Caregiver (Apr 2024)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 14% of the population, 37.1 million people, provide unpaid eldercare in the United States. These millions of individuals provide unpaid care to someone age 65 or older who needs help because of a condition related to aging. This care is provided to family and non-family members living at home, as well as those people living in skilled nursing or assisted care facilities.

Family members who take on the caregiving role are often under a lot of stress – usually for a long time. When caregivers of a person living with dementia are compared with persons like them who are not caregivers, the potential perils of the situation are clear. These caregivers are:

  • Twice as likely to have health and mental health problems
  • Two-and-a-half times as likely to be taking medicine for their nerves
  • Only half as likely to seek medical help for their problems
  • More likely to feel cut off from their family and friends
  • More likely to be pinched financially.

There is an evidence-based workshop available nationwide called “The Savvy Caregiver” for family and friends who are active caregivers, caring for those living with Alzheimer’s or related dementias.

On the North Shore, the Savvy Caregiver 6-week workshop is offered several times throughout the year.  The next session will be held virtually, beginning on April 26, 2024.

The Savvy Caregiver program is built on the notion that the successful caregiver has three main tasks:

  • Manage daily life with the person.
  • Find and use help with caregiving tasks.
  • Take care of yourself.

Savvy Caregiver training will help you:

  • Understand the impact of dementia on both you and the person for whom you are caring.
  • Learn the skills you need to manage daily life.
  • Take control and set goals.
  • Communicate more effectively.
  • Strengthen family resources.
  • Feel better about your caregiving.
  • Take care of yourself!

The Savvy Caregiver program offers help for caregivers with two frequent problems:

  • Disagreements. Sometimes family members and friends disagree with the caregiver about what’s going on. The program seeks to help all gain a better understanding of the situation and join together in helping the family member with dementia.
  • Help. Sometimes, family members and friends don’t know help is needed. Often they don’t know what help to give or how to give it. Savvy Caregivers know the many different tasks involved in caregiving. They are better able to decide which parts others might play and to instruct others in how to perform those tasks.

Being savvy about caregiving won’t stop the course of what the caregiver is dealing with or make it go away. Savvy caregiving won’t mean there will be no stress in the day-to-day or the long-term situation with which they are dealing. But, savvy caregiving can enable a person to develop a sense of control or mastery. It can help them to find ways to reduce the effects of caregiving stress and to increase their sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

This program is designed to expand a caregiver’s knowledge and skills. The most important outcome, though, should be that the caregiver will feel more confident of their ability to carry out the role they have taken on.

For more information about or to register for The Savvy Caregiver workshop, please contact Abbie Considine at 978-281-1750. Advance registration for the workshop is required.