Millions of Americans help care for and look after older adult family members or friends. Whether you call yourself a caregiver, or are simply a more hands-on daughter or son, you know that caring for an aging parent or friend can have its rewards and trials.
If you are a caregiver, or expect to be one someday, these tips may help you navigate the way.
1. Have an honest talk about future caregiving plans with your loved ones.
- It’s best to do this while they are still able to handle aspects of their daily lives.
- If you are an adult child caring for a parent and have siblings, ask the sibling who is most comfortable with the parent to talk to them about it.
- If you're caring for a spouse, start the conversation by sharing what you'd like for yourself such as an assisted living apartment. Don't assume that the method of care you want is also what your partner wants.
2. Caregivers need to share duties with others.
- Set a schedule and say, for example, "On Sunday, you can take mom to church; on Monday, you can drive her to the store," and so forth.
3. A burned-out caregiver isn't much help to anyone.
- Try to get enough sleep. Exhaustion is a common complaint among caregivers.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise helps ease stress. It also gives you a break from caregiving duties and helps to keep depression at bay.
Call 800.717.3811 and start by talking to someone who can connect you with the right programs and resources to help you manage your situation.
New virtual support group for caregivers
Caring for a loved one can be a gratifying experience. On the flipside, there are times it can become mentally taxing, challenging physically, and even lonely.
Area Agency on Aging and Caring Circle have partnered to launch a free online support group for caregivers. Studies show that individuals who participate in opportunities to share with others experiencing similar circumstances can cope better, receive encouragement, and feel empowered and strengthened to carry on.
These classes are virtual and held online. Interested individuals can register at caring-circle.org/events or call 269.429.7100 for more information.