Caring for the Caregiver
- October 27, 2015
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Are you a Caregiver? Do you care for a parent, spouse, child with special abilities or adult child that is in need of additional supervision and/or assistance with daily tasks?
It is estimated that 40 million Americans are currently caregivers. On Long Island that number is 1 million. These are people who provide care for their loved ones, selflessly, without compensation. They minister to the needs of their loved ones, providing companionship, transportation, bathing, dressing, and feeding them day after day. They frequently have little or no support from other family members. Often they have had to leave their jobs to care for their loved one.
Caregivers are on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They are exhausted, frustrated, and sometimes abused. They have taken on this role in love or duty. They may not know where to go for help. There seems to be so much misinformation out there. Where do you find out the real story? What help is there to assist with the care of your loved one? What about the caregiver? What help is available for you?
There are several resources available that will help you access resources you may not know are available. The first is NAIPC (National Aging In Place Coalition) This is a national organization with local chapters that have assembled resources for those that need care and those that provide it. Access this through NAIPC.org. Locally we have the LIFCC (Long Island Family Caregivers Coalition) Access this through LIFCC.org. AARP also has a Caregivers Initiative. The most recent AARP Magazine features articles highlighting caregivers. There are numerous Facebook groups for Caregivers, some specific to diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Often the caregiver feels alone and unappreciated. If you know a caregiver do not ignore them or think they are too busy for you. Yes, they are busy, but, they need to know that others are still thinking of them. Send a note. Tell them they are doing something wonderful for their loved one. Offer to run an errand. Offer to give them a break. AARP Magazine offers 100 ideas for Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers. They are currently running a contest: Make someone’s day…and maybe win a prize! Go to: aarp.org/caregiverkindness
If you know a caregiver tell them you care about them and their loved one. Do it today. It will make a world of difference.
The Crisis Planner
If you are a caregiver getting your loved one’s disaster plan together is essential. This simple tool will help you get organized. Get your copy of “And Now What” Life Planner and Survivors Checklist at http://www.amazon.com/Now-What-Panning-Survivors-Checklist/dp/1515228428/