Many caregivers are caring for loved ones who are dealing with memory loss. According to the Alzheimer’s Association web site, Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia accounting for 60% to 80% of the dementia cases. Alzheimer’s progresses rapidly as compared with general dementia that develops slowly. People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will live an average of eight years after their diagnosis, although some live as long as 20 years. Because the disease robs people of their ability to think and take care of themselves, they will need a lot of assistance which creates a challenging journey for family caregivers. One of the best resources for family caregivers is the Alzheimer’s Association web site which can be found at www.alz.org. This website is packed full of information to help people understand the disease, how it progresses, and risk factors for getting the disease. In addition, the web site features links to the Alzheimer’s navigator of connections to local support services, a virtual library, and information on locating a local chapter of the Association. A helpline is available 24/7 to provide assistance and answer questions. Call 1-800-272-3900 to reach the helpline.
Traveling the caregiving journey can be a very lonely experience. As caregivers realize that caregiving can require a huge amount of time, they often put their own lives on hold to have more time to take care of their loved ones. As a result, caregivers experience a variety of emotions ranging from anger to frustration to regret to guilt and sadness. Many caregivers have discovered that very few people are able to understand what they are going through.READ MORE
Being a caregiver can be overwhelming and stressful. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Tools to keep you organized can make a difference. But, which ones are user friendly, password protected, free, and available across multiple platforms including iPhones, iPads and computers?
AARP has a YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com ): “Apps to Keep a Caregiver Organized” that provides information. Note-taking Apps are like a file cabinet to store your notes. File-sharing Apps are useful to share lists of doctors and medical information with family members. To do reminders can be created on list Apps.READ MORE
Are you a long-distance caregiver caring for a loved one who lives some distance from you? While long-distance caregiving may not be the ideal situation, it is workable if handled correctly and if a number of things are in place. According to AARP, one of the most important things to do is to arrange for communication with medical, legal and financial professionals. You will need to have your loved one fill out and sign forms giving professionals permission to discuss your loved one’s situation with you. Without permission, you will not be able to keep tabs on your loved one’s needs. Also important is to have a discussion with your loved one about his/her finances so that a plan can be developed for long-term care and how it will be financed. Along with this discussion comes the task of establishing a durable power of attorney for financial and health care issues. It is important to exchange contact information with your loved one’s neighbors and to know how to get into your loved one’s home in case of an emergency. For more information on becoming a long-distance caregiver, go to the AARP website at www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/care-guides/long-distance-caregiving/#step1.
Caregivers are giving, loving people and often find it hard to justify taking time for themselves. However, this is vital to your well-being and health. The issue is further compounded by the fact that it is often difficult and cost prohibitive to find someone to transfer caregiving responsibility to and allow for a break.
The Caregiver Action Network (CAN), a non-profit organization providing education, peer support and resources, has a National Respite Locator posted on the Respite Care section of their website: https://caregiveraction.org/family-caregiver-toolbox. Click on the state, enter the age of the caree as well as the city and mile range. The search results in a list of facilities, including city, phone and email. Click on the map or view option. The latter provides additional details on the facility.
One of the most stressful journeys is taking care of someone with dementia or Alzheimer's. According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Ninety-five percent of are over the age of 65. One in every ten seniors has Alzheimer's. Every 66 seconds in this country, another person is diagnosed with the disease. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in this country. How do you know if your loved one may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's or just showing normal effects of aging? The National Institute on Aging lists the following conditions as possible indicators of having Alzheimer's:READ MORE
Are you currently providing some type of care for a loved one? If so, how many of these questions have entered your mind?
There are several organizations dedicated to helping caregivers with their caregiving responsibilities and duties. One of these organizations is AARP. An important way they are supporting caregivers is through their CAREversations program which is a free event for family caregivers.
The next CAREversation event will be held on Tue, Mar 5 from 5:00-7:00pm at Mi Amigo's Mexican Grill banquet room, 1264 S. Gilbert Road, Mesa 85204. If you are a caregiver taking care of a family member or loved one, you may want to take advantage of this opportunity to connect with fellow caregivers and exchange tips. The event will also include a presentation on the five key steps to aid caregivers in their caregiving journey. An additional presentation will provide information on local caregiving resources that are available in the Mesa area.
To register for the event, call 1-800-278-1045 or go to www.aarp.cvent.com/carephnx.
There may come a time when caregivers realize that their loved ones can no longer care for themselves safely in their own homes or the caregivers can no longer provide the needed care. Caregivers are then faced with the issue of trying to convince their loved ones of the necessity to live elsewhere. If not approached appropriately, a power struggle will ensue between caregivers and care receivers with the latter insisting on remaining in their homes. How can this topic be discussed without becoming a bitter divisive issue? According to Stella Henry, R.N., author of The Eldercare Handbook, the conversation needs to start early before a crisis situation has developed. In addition, caregivers should make the conversation about their own feelings such as: “I’m really concerned about your safety; it worries me to see you living this way” OR “I’m worried that I can no longer give you all the care you need.” This approach has greater potential for encouraging a dialogue than just demanding and insisting on a change. Once the dialogue begins, caregivers can explore various options with their care receivers.