Monday, March 1, 2010

Coping with the demands of caregiving

If you’re busy caring for a parent or spouse you may not have heard the rumbling from all corners lately.

Family caregiving is finally getting a little respect.

Suddenly, we’ve become aware that it’s not just the hidden few in our community who are responsible for managing care – or providing it hands’-on – to a loved one.

It’s nearly one out of every five households in the U.S. today – nearly 50 million Americans, according to a recent AARP-MetLife survey.

While there’s some comfort knowing you’re not alone in your caregiving challenges, the real advantage comes from the actions that this is inspiring.

Just check out the internet these days. Type in “family caregiver” in any search engine, and watch the websites, news articles and information start pouring in. You can find tons of helpful articles and resources if you’ve got the time to wade through the results.

Of course, if you’re busy caregiving you probably don’t have a lot of time to sit at a computer searching for resources.

You may just want to read a good mystery at the end of the day, or watch a mindless sitcom on TV.

No one would blame you for wanting a real break, when you finally get to take a break.

But I’d like to encourage you to take a few minutes to seek out some resources that work for you, especially information, training, or resources that make your caregiving job easier.

Imagine if you could communicate more clearly to the person in your care, and avoid some of the frustrations you now encounter. Imagine learning how to ask your friends or siblings for help in a way that they respond to, without getting offended.

Imagine learning tricks to make the tasks go easier for both of you.

Caregivers who take the time to attend training classes say, “It saved my life.” Often, they don’t realize how hard their job is, and how many little things they can do to make it easier, until they take a step back to learn from an expert.

You don’t have to dedicate every waking minute to this.

Just start with one little step. There are a thousand experts out there, just waiting to support you and help you be able to continue to care.

If you’d like to learn more about online training for caregivers, check out the Personal Care Aide Certification course offered by the Institute for Professional Care Education at

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