Wednesday, November 5, 2008

National Caregiving Month - reasons to celebrate

The month of November has been proclaimed National Family Caregivers Month by President Bush. According to the proclamation, "National Family Caregivers Month is an opportunity to recognize those who serve a cause greater than self and contribute to the well-being of their loved ones."

As I read that I thought, "That's a great gesture, but will the real caregivers even know about it?" So many family caregivers trudge day to day with too little sleep, too little support, and too much hard, hard work.

In my recent meeting with a group of family caregivers, participants shared how they've come to turn to the internet for answers to many of their perplexing questions.

"Is it really Alzheimer's?"

"What are the side effects of the new medication?"

"How do I keep him safe during the day when I need to run to the store?"

For family caregivers the internet is a resource that they can turn to at 4 am or at 4 pm. They can do quick research while they keep an eye on their loved one at the same time.

My team at aQuire Training Solutions just added another resource for family caregivers: Caregiver Courses available 100% online.

Many family members want to keep providing care but have never been trained. They need to know how to help keep their loved ones joints moving (called range of motion); how to prevent bladder and bowel incontinence; how to keep providing care - and keep their sanity - when disease processes cause challenging behaviors.

These Caregiver Courses offer training in these subjects, and about 20 others. All combined, a caregiver can earn a Caregiver's Certification through this course, a good way to feel a sense of accomplishment while gaining new skills.

But here's the catch: sometimes caregivers are so exhausted from their 24 hours a day work that they miss these handy news releases.

This is the perfect opportunity for friends and family members at a distance to help. Maybe you can't provide the daily care for your loved one because of distance or time constraints, but you CAN help support those that do provide the daily care. With the holidays coming, it's the perfect time to give a caregiver in your life with the gift of support and education.

Let's give all caregivers a reason to celebrate during National Family Caregiving Month!

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