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By Marcy Shoemaker, Psy.D.
Caretakers come in all sizes, shapes, genders and ethnicities. However, they do have one thing in common. Caretakers are usually not prepared for their new role.
Because it often arrives unexpectedly, caretaking may become a full-time job, affecting free time and causing feelings of alienation because of the lack of support from friends and family members. Caretakers are silent heroes due to their devotion, commitment and self-sacrifice.
There are few guarantees in the life of the caretaker. Many jeopardize their occupations and personal lives because it is simply too difficult to balance those areas with the additional responsibility of caretaking. Scheduling doctor’s appointments, paying bills, and coordinating the care for their family may all fall solely on the caretaker to handle. Isolation is common and is often accompanied by emotional and physical problems.
When it comes to finding help, many caretakers do not know where to turn. Quality resources are often difficult to find, and the decision making process can be overwhelming. Without the knowledge of where to turn, it can be hard to access the support needed.
The good news is there is help out there.
Caretakers should let family members and friends know what kind of assistance they need. It’s possible the situation isn’t fully understood.
You can also find help online through blogs and websites, including:
Please, don't go it alone.
Support groups can also be very helpful. It is important for the caregiver to determine if a support group is appropriate for them. The best way to know is to attend a meeting and assess the dynamics of the group and the quality of the leadership. Word of mouth is one of the best resources. Caretakers can gain valuable information from other caretakers in similar situations. It is also helpful to speak to family members, friends, church and/or synagogue members for referrals.
It is often helpful to consider respite or a break from caregiving. Adult day care services can be valuable to both the caregiver and senior. These programs can offer both social programming and medical monitoring.
Remember that there are many resources available to caretakers to help ease the responsibility. This should not be a journey accompanied by silence but support and guidance.
If you need help and guidance while caring for a loved one, you can call us at 215-371-3400 or 1-888-340-0080 to speak with an objective and experienced senior care advisor 24/7.