Nearly half of American adults are currently faced with caring for their aging parents and/or grandparents, and the numbers are escalating. More than 65 million people care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing that care to their loved one. As a result, caregivers often find themselves caught between the role of caregiver and handling the responsibilities of their own lives, which can lead to feelings of guilt, resentment and ager about their situation.
In recognition of the challenges that family caregivers face, November has been designated as Family Caregivers Month. Here are some helpful tips from the Caregiver Action Network for those who find themselves in the role of caregiver to a family member:
1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things that people can do to help you.
4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
5. Caregiving is hard work, so take respite breaks often.
6. Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help if and when you need it.
7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
8. Organize medical information so that it’s up to date and easy to find.
9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
For more helpful resources, log on to www.caregiveraction.org