Coping with Grief

06-24-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Caregivers soon learn that caregiving becomes an emotional roller coaster as they experience a variety of emotions.  One difficult emotion to handle is that of grief as the caregiver realizes his/her loved one is declining. This type of grief is called anticipatory grief as it anticipates the feelings the caregiver may experience upon the death of the loved one.  Many times the caregiver will not realize she/he is in the grips of anticipatory grief. Research conducted in the area of grief has shown that mourners experience grief on many emotional levels including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. These emotions can occur in any order and return at various times, and these emotions can occur before the loss actually happens.  One of the most difficult things to do in life is to watch a loved one slip away and know that all efforts to stop the decline have failed. Caregivers in this situation need to step back and take time for self-care. This may include seeing a therapist or even attending a grief support group that can help the caregiver understand his/her feelings.

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Asking for Help

06-17-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

One of the hardest things for family caregivers to accept is the reality that they may not be able to care for their loved ones without assistance from others. Many caregivers feel embarrassed or guilty when they realize they cannot do everything. Once this realization sets in, the next step is to ask for assistance from caring, concerned friends and family members. Many times this does not happen because caregivers are too overwhelmed to figure out how others can assist.

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Caring for the Caregiver Part 3

06-10-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

For the past three weeks, we have been exploring some ideas of how 24/7 caregivers can work self-care time into their busy caregiving schedules. Several options have been presented including hiring professional caregivers, asking family and friends to visit the care receiver while the caregiver takes a break, and taking the loved one to an adult day care center.

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Caring for the Caregiver Part 2

06-03-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

For the past two weeks, we have been exploring some ideas of how 24/7 caregivers can work self-care time into their busy caregiving schedules. The first option discussed was asking a family member or friend to relieve the caregiver so that he/she can take a break. A variation of that option was presented – hiring someone to take care of the care recipient and getting reimbursed for up to $300 in a three-month period from the Arizona Caregiver Coalition. A second option explored last week was to have friends come do activities with the care receiver or take him/her to lunch while the caregiver takes time for self-care.

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Caring for the Caregiver Part I

05-27-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

For some caregivers, the caregiving journey can become a full-time job. In such situations, caregivers don't often realize the impact that 24/7 caregiving has on their emotional, spiritual and physical health. It is during this time that caregivers need to also take care of themselves, often very difficult with all their caregiving tasks. Yet, there are ways for caregivers to work in self-care and still fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. Over the next few weeks we will look at several ideas that caregivers have shared at caregiver support group meetings.

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Caregiver Burn Out

05-20-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

For some caregivers, the caregiving journey can become a full-time job. In such situations, caregivers don't often realize the impact that 24/7 caregiving has on their emotional, spiritual and physical health. It is during this time that caregivers need to also take care of themselves, often very difficult with all their caregiving tasks. Yet, there are ways for caregivers to work in self-care and still fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. Over the next few weeks we will look at several ideas that caregivers have shared at caregiver support group meetings.

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Caregiver Action Network (CAN)

05-13-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Being a caregiver requires a lot of the caregiver. Very few caregivers have the medical knowledge they feel they may need to be an effective caregiver for their loved ones. Questions abound: What do I need to know about the disease my loved one has? How can I best assist my loved one? What should I watch for in my loved one's condition? To where can I turn if I need assistance? One resource that can assist caregivers is the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) website which contains several videos on different diseases in their online caregiver video resource center.

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Caregiver Action Network

05-06-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Caregiving can be a lonely journey as many caregivers often feel isolated from their family members and friends as their caregiving duties require more and more of their time. Some caregivers find that their journeys have become 24/7 which brings even more isolation. One of the best coping strategies for caregivers is to attend caregivers’ support group meetings on a regular basis which helps combat the feeling of isolation as caregivers discover that they are not alone, that other caregivers have similar experiences and feelings. However, attending a support group may not be an option for those caregivers who are providing round-the-clock care.

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Family Caregiver Alliance website

04-29-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Are you struggling with how to care for your loved one with special medical needs or with trying to follow post-operation/post-hospitalization instructions? Are you wishing you could find a resource that would answer your questions, provide you with tips and even demonstrate how to perform some of the functions that family caregivers are expected to do? If so, check out the Family Caregiver Alliance's website at www.caregiver.org. The website contains an entire section of education for family caregivers. Point to the "Caregiver Education" tab at the top of the home page and view the drop down menu of choices to help you become more educated.

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Taking Care of a Spouse

04-22-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Taking care of a loved one is a challenge; taking care of a spouse can be even more challenging. People who care for their spouses often realize that they must shift roles from being a wife or husband to becoming a caregiver. This shift is often accompanied by a transformation of the relationship from one of lovers and partners to that of friends. The love is still there, but it takes on a different form as one spouse suspends his/her life to care for the other spouse. At the point of transformation, many caregivers often experience an emotional roller coaster that includes feelings of loss, depression, frustration, anger and resentment.

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Home Safety Checklist

04-15-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Are you facing the reality that your care receiver’s home environment may be unsafe for him/her? Are you unsure of what can be done to improve the home environment or don’t know how to seek assistance in making modifications? If this is your situation, then you may want to check out the FSL (Foundation for Senior Living) Caregiver House which now offers equipment and adaptive aids for purchase. Their new service also includes delivery, set-up and installation of purchased items. If you are not sure of what you need, you can take a tour of the Caregiver House to see a variety of specialized equipment and even receive hands-on training in how to help your loved one use the equipment.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call FSL at 602-297-1856. You can also visit the FSL website at www.fsl.org.

Elder Resource Guide

04-08-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

The caregiving journey can become overwhelming for new caregivers when they realize just how much needs to be done for their loved ones especially when they do not live with their care receivers. How do I find out which health insurance/Medicare benefits my loved one is eligible to receive? How do I arrange for my loved one to receive home-delivered meals? How do I find a caregiver to help my loved one with bathing and dressing? How do I arrange for my loved one to get to doctor appointments?

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Caregiver's Emergency Card

04-01-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

So you are a caregiver, and you know that you are a caregiver. However, does anyone else know it? What would happen if you were hospitalized for a serious situation and could not communicate? Who would be there to look after your care receiver? Who would know?

While this may be a hypothetical situation, it can easily become reality. Your loved one could be left stranded without any caregiving support if something were to happen to you. This unfortunate situation can be avoided with a very simple and quick solution. Carry a Caregiver's Emergency Card with you at all times. This card will alert emergency personnel that you are a caregiver and will provide the name, address and phone number of your loved one. You can fashion a card for your wallet or you can purchase a set of 10 for $2.00 from the website for caregiver forms. Go to www.caregiverforms.net/2011/06/caregiver-cards.html.