In the United States, there are 53 million caregivers providing unpaid care to an adult family member. The majority of these caregivers are also working a full time job, leading to many feeling burnt out and unwell themselves. (Caregiving in the U.S.)
Caregivers need support and assistance. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a reflection of the difficult job they have taken on– a job that requires caring for themselves as well. And when caregivers are feeling their best, they can better care for their loved ones
Available Caregiver Support
Caregivers often report feeling alone or lost and not knowing where to go for help. But there are a number of support options available. Some caregivers may only need one form of support, while a combination of supports may be necessary for others. Some of these options include:
- Respite Care. Respite care provides caregivers with short-term breaks. Home care providers as well as long-term care facilities usually provide this service, which can be used for a few hours to a few weeks. Respite care isn’t usually covered under insurance, although Medicare and Medicaid might offer some assistance. Respite care providers can provide payment options.
- Support Groups. Support groups for caregivers are a great place to connect with others and to get tips and advice from those in similar situations. Abramson Senior Care offers a number of free caregiver support groups that can be found here. Organizations focused on a specific diagnosis, such as the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Stroke Association, list support groups that help caregivers and patients living with those illnesses.
- Training Programs. Sometimes caregivers feel overwhelmed because they are providing care but don’t have a full understanding on best care practices for their loved one’s conditions. It can be helpful to find a program that teaches the basics of caregiving – dressing and bathing, feeding, etc., so that they feel comfortable assisting their loved one. Additionally, if there is a specific ailment that is causing the need for caregiving, there may be courses on caregiving that addresses those specific needs. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association provides many training modules for caregivers.
- Daycare Programs. An adult day program can provide a break for the caregiver and be a great way for the senior to maintain social connections and participate in meaningful activities. Day programs often allow a client to attend as little or as much as needed, so schedules can be customized according to the caregiver and the senior’s needs.
- Care services. There are a number of care services, including palliative care and geriatric care management, that can take the burden off of the caregiver by providing help with locating services, assistance managing symptoms and medication, coordinating with the senior’s physicians and more. Some of the services are private pay, but some are provided under insurance or Medicare and Medicaid. Abramson Senior Care provides a free 24-hour, seven day a week advisory line that can help get caregivers started. A senior care expert is available at 215.371.3400.
Taking time for yourself
In addition to professional support, it’s important that caregivers find time for themselves to do things they enjoy and that help them relax. Get outside for a walk, carve out some time to read a book or watch a favorite TV show, and talk on the phone with a friend.
Finding time for oneself when serving as a caregiver for another can be challenging, but it is essential that caregivers r take care of their own physical and emotional health. At Abramson Senior Care, we make supporting caregivers an important component of care that is woven throughout every one of our services. If you would like to learn more about how we provide support and care to both seniors and caregivers, call 215.371.3400. A care advisor is available to talk free 24-hours a day, seven days a week.