So you are a caregiver, and YOU know that you are a caregiver. However, who else knows that? 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 that someone is depending upon you?
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 solution - carry a Caregiver’s Emergency Card with you at all times to alert emergency personnel that you are a caregiver. Fashion your card for your wallet using an index card. Make sure you provide the following information: name, address, age of your care receiver; your relationship to the care receiver; phone number of another caregiver or family member; and whether or not your care receiver can be left alone. In addition, write the same information on a sheet of paper and place it on your refrigerator. Paramedics automatically check refrigerators for information. If you are caring for your loved one in your home, also place both your loved one’s medication list and yours on the refrigerator.
In today's busy world we talk about one-stop shopping which makes life easier. This concept also applies to the busy caregiving world in which caregivers can benefit from one-click access to resources. If you are a caregiver with very little time to do research resources, then you may find the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) website to be very helpful. The website has a section that is devoted to various resources and information designed to support caregivers that are only a click away. This section contains links to information on nutrition tips, nutrition counseling for those with cancer, technology for caregivers, handling incontinence, managing medications, how to talk with doctors, managing the cost of care, understanding Medicare, advance directives, Alzheimer's caregiving, respite care for caregivers, caregiver depression and free clinical tries in addition to other topics.
To get to this one-click page on the CAN website, go to caregiveraction.org/family-caregiver-toolbox.
Compassion fatigue, also known as caregiver burnout, is a common problem among caregivers. As caregiving responsibilities become more complex and require more time, caregivers find themselves stretched in many directions as they try to manage other responsibilities. There may even come a point when the caregiver is so exhausted that she or he just wants the caregiving journey to be over. How does a caregiver know he/she has compassion fatigue? Some of the signs include being irritable, resentful, angry, depressed, annoyed, exhausted, frustrated, sarcastic, pessimistic, apathetic and overwhelmed. If you are experiencing one or more of these on a frequent, regular basis, then you may be experiencing compassion fatigue.READ MORE
Mark your calendar for some special events coming soon! On Sat, Nov 4, FSL (formerly Foundation for Senior Living) will be holding its 3rd Annual Family Caregiver Open House from 8:30am-3:00pm at the FSL Caregiver House, 1201 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix 85014. At this come-and-go-as-you-please event, you will be able to learn about caregiving resources and self-care for caregivers, receive caregiving tips, and watch some healthy cooking demos. You are even welcome to bring your care receivers with you. They will be provided with free respite care under the supervision of professional caregivers while you attend the seminars.READ MORE
Is your care receiver a veteran? If so, are you aware that the Veterans Administration offers a number of programs to support family caregivers taking care of their loved ones who are veterans? The programs are designed to provide support and help for the veteran and for the family caregiver both in the home and out of the home. The VA has trained professionals who can talk with you and help you determine which programs and services would be the best fit for your specific situation.
As one of the 65 million family caregivers in our country, you are on a busy, often stressful, time-demanding journey. Research has shown that one of the best ways for caregivers to take care of themselves is to join a caregiver support group and attend meetings regularly. While this is ideal, it is not often practical as many caregivers are unable to get away from their duties and responsibilities to attend meetings. Now it is possible to use an app to connect with other caregivers who are experiencing very similar caregiving situations. The app is called CINC – Caregivers in the Community. This free, mobile app is offered through AARP's Care Connection which is part of the AARP caregiving community.READ MORE
One of the greatest concerns for older/ill people is falling down. Caregivers often have to deal with the after-effects of their loved ones falling. Last week we looked at four ways to help prevent falls through encouraging regular exercise, medication mindfulness, visual health checks and safe home environment. According to Health in Aging.org, many older people suffer from osteopenia or osteoporosis which is thinning and weakening of bones. With this health condition, people can easily break their bones when they fall. However, it is also possible that the reverse can occur. People with weakened bones occasionally fall after a bone has broken. How does a caregiver know if his/her care receiver has osteopenia or osteoporosis? Warning signs include stooped posture and loss of height. If these signs are present, the caregiver should discuss the issue with the care receiver's physician.
For more information on what caregivers can do to help a care receiver with osteopenia or osteoporosis, check out the website for Health in Aging at the following link: www.healthinaging.org/resources/ resource:eldercare-at-home-boneweakness/.
One of the greatest concerns for older/ill people and their caregivers is falling down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four adults 65 and over falls each year and more than 2.8 million receive treatment for fall-related injuries in emergency departments. Half of all falls occur in the home. The most common type of fall is falling sideways. To keep your loved one upright and safe at home, implement these four preventions:
REGULAR EXERCISE – make sure your loved one is moving around and exercising to keep legs strong;READ MORE
Are you a new caregiver looking for information to help you get started on your caregiving journey? Are you a veteran caregiver interested in discovering additional community resources to support you and your care receiver? If you answer yes to one of these questions, then you many want to take advantage of an opportunity offered by AARP that may meet your needs.
On Thu, Aug 24 from 6:00-8:00pm, AARP is offering CAREversations – a free and fun event for family caregivers – at the Apache Junction Multi-Generational Center in classroom B117. The Center is located at 1035 N. Idaho Road in Apache Junction. During this event, attendees will learn about five key steps for the caregiving journey, connect with other caregivers to exchange tips and ideas and will explore local community caregiving resources.READ MORE
While caregiving can be very stressful, caregiving can also be very rewarding. There are many positive benefits that can result from taking care of a loved one. Caregiving can be viewed as an opportunity to give back and take care of someone who once cared for them. This is often the case between children and parents, grandchildren and grandparents, and spouses. Many people become caregivers to continue an established tradition of caring for family members while providing a model for younger family members who may one day take care of them. At the same time, caregivers often receive a sense of satisfaction knowing that their loved ones can continue to live at home while receiving personal and excellent care from them. Many caregivers state that caregiving provides a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Research has shown that caregivers who view their caregiving as a positive experience report lower levels of depression than those who view caregiving negatively (Halley, et al, 2003).
For more information regarding the benefits of caregiving, visit the American Psychological Association website at www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/ caregivers/faq/positive-aspects.aspx.