Ten things every family caregiver needs to knowNovember is National Family Caregiver’s Month and a time to reflect on the dedication that family caregivers have for their family members every day. We all need to appreciate and admire them for their most difficult task and support them in their efforts.
By: Mary Krueger, Douglas County Senior Coordinator, Alexandria Echo Press
November is National Family Caregiver’s Month and a time to reflect on the dedication that family caregivers have for their family members every day.
We all need to appreciate and admire them for their most difficult task and support them in their efforts.
As part of that effort, here are 10 things every caregiver should know.
1You are not alone. There are more than 65 million Americans caring for aging or disabled loved ones every year. (National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, 2009.)
2Your work is valuable to the nation. The value of unpaid care that these 65 million caregivers provide is estimated to be around $375 billion. (National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, 2009.)
3You are America’s number one long-term care provider. Family caregivers provide 90 percent of long term care in this country. The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman with some college experience who provides more than 20 hours of care each week for her mother. (NAC 2004.)
4Caregiving is costly. Nearly 50 percent of working caregivers report that caregiving expenses have depleted most, or all, of their own personal savings.
5You have to care for yourself first. You need to keep yourself healthy and happy in order to care for your loved one. Caregivers say they do not go to the doctor because they put their family’s needs or the care recipient’s needs before their own. More than half say they do not have time to take care of themselves or are too tired to do so.
6Knowledge and spirituality can make your job easier. Seventy-three percent of caregivers say that praying helps them cope with stress. Forty-four percent say that reading books about caregiving helps them to manage their daily stress but also gives them a sense of belonging.(NAC, 2004.)
7You need someone to talk to. The Douglas County Caregiver Support Group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. All caregivers are welcome.
8You can take a break. Just because you are a caregiver doesn’t mean you can’t take a break. You need to take a break. There are lots of services in Douglas County to help with that. Call me at (320) 762-3047 to discuss your options
9You have limits. All of us do. It’s important to recognize when your loved one has declined to the point that professional care is the best option for both of you.
10Help is available. We are fortunate in our area to have a lot of agencies available to help you along this journey. Give me a call at (320) 762-3047 to talk over some ideas.
# # #
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter once said, “There are four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.”