HELP FOR CAREGIVERS

Apr 7th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Caregivers Need Help Too

Increasing numbers of senior citizens find themselves in caregiving roles at some point in their senior years.  For some of us it’s taking care of elderly parents or loved ones in an extended family relationship.  For others, it’s caregiving for a dear elderly friend.  Sometimes the recipient is a spouse.  And, although less often, we find ourselves taking care of adult children dealing with major illness or disability.

For some of us seniors the caregiving role is full time, seven days a week and almost 24 hours a day.  For others it’s less often, but with regular tasks, such as grocery shopping, medical appointments and running errands for the one in need of care.  Many times, it’s a combination of several of these responsibilities.

This writer recently turned to the Internet, once again, for suggestions and tips about how to handle the caregiving role.  The ‘Net holds an abundance of information that is very helpful.  Culling through the massive number of documents would take hours.  Just reading the first few that pop up when a search is completed is helpful and rewarding, but also takes time.  I was looking for a one-stop site that would assist me with several question I had about my caregiving role.  My mother-in-law is in a nursing home and I manage her finances, ordering medications, communicating with her physician and nursing home personnel, running errands and twice-weekly visits.  My brother, now recovered from cancer surgery, needs assistance with his diet and finances, as well as social interaction.  My husband, a 4 ½ year survivor of prostate cancer, and now recovering from a corneal transplant, needs assistance with medications and daily living tasks due to the limitations imposed by his surgeon.

As I searched the Internet, I was specifically looking for suggestions about how to prioritize the various items on my ‘to do’ list, and take care of myself at the same time.  What I found was almost exactly what I was looking for.

A Caregiving Resource Center

AARP now has a Caregiving Resource Center, very much like a one-stop shopping center where you can find almost everything you are searching for on one website.

The first section deals with getting started.  “Preparation is key when providing care for a loved one. Get tips on how to get organized and what to expect as you prepare to care.”   (AARP Caregiving Resource Center)  For those of you just beginning your caregiving life, this information is invaluable.  You will find a complete list of the items and issues you need to address as you begin to care for your loved one.

Other pages on the site include 8 Rules for New Caregivers, the First Crucial Step (identifying your loved one’s needs), Care Provider Locator, and then a whole host of articles related to every aspect of caregiving that you can think of.

I found the answers to my questions on this site, and I also found some additional helpful suggestions and ideas I hadn’t thought about.

SCJ recommends the AARP Caregiving Resource Center for all senior citizens finding themselves in a caregiving role.



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