Who qualifies as being a Caregiver ?
Definition: care·giv·er (kârgvr) noun
- An individual, such as a physician, nurse, or social worker, who assists in the identification, prevention, or treatment of an illness or disability.
- An individual, such as a parent, foster parent, or head of a household, who attends to the needs of a child or dependent adult.
Simply put, caregivers can be daughters, wives, husbands, sons, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, partners and friends. While some people receive care from paid caregivers, most rely on unpaid assistance from their family members, friends, and/or neighbors.
Caregivers manage a wide range of responsibilities. In your family, for example, a caregiver is the person who:
- Buys groceries, cooks, cleans house or does laundry for someone who needs special help doing these things?
- Helps a family member get dressed, take a shower and take medicine?
- Helps with transferring someone in and out of bed, helps with physical therapy, injections, feeding tubes or other medical procedures?
- Makes medical appointments and drives to the doctor and drugstore?
- Talks with the doctors, care managers and others to understand what needs to be done?
- Spends time at work handling a crisis or making plans to help a family member who is sick?
- Is the designated "on-call" family member for problems?
In small doses, these jobs are manageable. But having to juggle competing caregiving demands with the demands of your own life on an ongoing basis can be quite a challenge.
With the 65+ age group expected to double to 70 million people by 2030, family caregivers increasingly provide care for aging parents, siblings, and friends, most of whom have one or more chronic conditions, and who wish to remain in their own homes and communities as they age. Others belong to the "sandwich generation," caring for children and parents at the same time.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, or other brain-impairing disorders can be more stressful than caring for someone with a physical impairment. Caring for someone with a cognitive disorder can be a 24/7 job due to the unpredictability of the care recipient's behavior.
Long-distance caregiving is usually defined as care provided by a caregiver living more than an hour away from the care recipient. Caring from a distance is difficult both emotionally and logistically, and is most common in situations where adult children and their parents do not live in the same area. In these cases, the caregiver's role is not as much "hands-on" as it is gathering information about available resources, coordinating services and putting together a "team" of family, friends and paid help that can meet the care recipient's needs.
Caregivers living in rural settings face unique challenges. These include fewer available formal services, fewer physicians and health education services, transportation difficulties, weather problems in winter, geographic distance and isolation.
The United States' great diversity means that families bring their own histories, traditions and rituals to caregiving. In many cultures, there are family expectations about the caregiving roles of adult children. This is especially true in cultures where daughters or daughters-in-law are expected to assume the primary caregiver role for aging parents.
For some people, caregiving occurs gradually over time. For others, it can happen overnight. Caregivers may be full- or part-time; live with their loved one, or provide care from a distance. Caregivers provide a wide range of services, from simple help such as grocery shopping, to complex medical procedures. For the most part, friends, neighbors, and most of all, families, provide without pay the vast majority of healthcare in this country.
It is easy to become overwhelmed as a new caregiver. Here are some steps that can possibly help:
Start with a diagnosis. Learning about a family member's diagnosis helps caregivers understand the disease process and plan ahead realistically.
Talk about finances and healthcare wishes. Having these conversations can be difficult, but completing Durable Powers of Attorney for finances and healthcare can help relieve anxiety and better prepare for the future.
Consider inviting family and close friends to come together and discuss the care needed. If possible, it's helpful to include the care recipient in this meeting. This meeting gives caregivers a chance to say what they need, plan for care and ask others for assistance.
Take advantage of community resources such as Meals on Wheels and adult day programs. These resources help relieve the workload and offer a break. Look for caregiver educational programs that will increase knowledge and confidence.
Find support. The most important thing is for caregivers to not become isolated as they take on more responsibility. Online and in-person groups can be helpful in connecting with others in the same circumstances. Caregivers can call Family Caregiver Alliance at (800) 445-8106 to learn about local services, or visit www.caregiver.org, and click on "Family Care Navigator."
Caregivers Support Group, Phone: 972.563.1422
Caregivers Support Group
Are you looking for someone to talk to—someone who understands what it’s like to deal with Alzheimer's disease? Whether you've just been diagnosed or you're caring for a loved one, joining a support group could be a great way to find people who understand what you're experiencing.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease is a full-time job, and you'll need helpful tips and lots of support to give your loved one the best care and protect your own health at the same time.
Here are steps caregivers can take to reduce stress:
- Take Care of Yourself First: You can’t be an effective caregiver if you are so stressed out that you get sick and have to cancel personal plans or a vacation. As hard as it is to find the time and motivation, realize that it is imperative that you nurture yourself.
Eat healthily: set limits on high fat and processed foods, caffeine, and too many sugar-laden treats that can increase fatigue.
- Exercise often: take a walk, stretch, lift weights, do isometrics
- Get proper sleep: take naps when necessary
- Get out and get a little daily sunlight
- Read your list of Gratitudes several times a day
- Meditate: practice deep breathing and visualize happy times
- Attend our support group regularly: solutions will present themselves
- Do things you enjoy: read, music, hobbies, crafts, movies, etc.
- Use a hand sanitizer: viral and bacterial infections can be reduced
Plan Ahead, Organize, Pace Yourself.
Ask For Help: Don’t wait for others to ask what they can do to help. Instead, ask everyone to pick the tasks from your list that they feel comfortable with.
Realize that your happiness is what your loved one wants most for you (even if it doesn’t seem like it), and that you do them honor by living a balanced and fulfilled life
Some of the testimonials that have been said about joining a support group are:
- It saved my life.
- It is my anchor.
- We can cry with no shame attached.
- We have become an extended family
- No one else understands what I am going through
- A safe place to let out my true feelings and to actually laugh again
- Learning how to handle challenging behaviors in a positive way has made a big difference in my attitude
Our support group can often offer guidance on:
- Who to call for legal advice
- Respite care
- Financial and insurance information
- State Medicaid assistance
- Placement issues
- Feelings of guilt and anger
- Veteran’s benefits
- Clinical studies
- Latest Alzheimer's drugs that are available
- Companionship, and comfort
Call 972.563.1422 for more information
Helpful Links for Caregivers
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Caregiver Health
- Caregiver's Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors
- Is This Dementia & What Does It Mean?
- Legal Issues in Planning for Incapacity
- Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family
- Women and Caregiving: Facts and Figures
- Work and Eldercare
Kaufman County Senior Citizens Services, Inc.
Agency Offices in the Terrell Train Depot
P.O. Box 836
200 S. Virginia
Terrell, TX 75160
Main No. 972.563.1421
Information & Assistance Toll Free: 866.758.2111
STAR Transportation: 972.563.5875, Metro: 972.524.1423
Caregivers Support Group
Phyllis Walker, KCSCSI Director of Aging 972.563.1421
E-mail Phyllis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our toll free number for assistance is: