Improving The Lives of Family Caregivers
Did you know that in the United States today, 3.5 million people with dementia live at home and are cared for by family members? Caring for a person with dementia often involves a myriad of responsibilities, including daily ongoing personal care, medication management, filling the day with engaging activities, finding programs and services, making medical appointments, and handling insurance. Caregivers may spend a staggering 252 hours per month on this care, an amount of time equivalent to almost two full-time jobs. Moreover, the median time spent on family caregiving responsibilities is five years. The stress and burdens can put caregivers at risk for multiple health problems, including compromised immune systems, depression and even cognitive decline.
Help Is On The Way
If you are a family caregiver or know one, the first critical step is to recognize and accept that primary caregiving responsibilities cannot be successfully handled alone. Each family member needs to assess his/her actual availability and ability to share the various tasks. A well-coordinated plan needs to be developed along with monitoring. Those family members responsible for direct care need to understand the impact of dementia, learn skills, and recognize when they need help. Services to support family caregivers include:
- Community based services such as adult day care
- Respite Care offered by both long term and skilled nursing facilities
- Home Care Services, including personal, medical, and dental care
- Home maintenance, safety and monitoring devices
- Medication reminders
- Transportation services
- Wandering prevention
While the individual diagnosed with a form of dementia requires assistance, the family caregivers do as well. Contact me if help is needed to:
- Increase dementia knowledge and skills
- Create a well coordinated plan of responsibilities
- Connect with services and professionals in the field of eldercare
Tips to Enjoy a Successful Holiday
With Thanksgiving approaching we are about to embark on the holiday season. For most of us, we look forward to getting a break and spending time with family and friends. Enjoying the holiday festivities should include your family member challenged with Alzheimer’s. Here are some tips for caregivers.
- Help your loved one feel included. Talk about previous gatherings, bring out photo albums, engage her/him in setting the table, helping out with a familiar recipe, decorating the table sending out holiday cards
- Try to be flexible if the table setting isn’t exact or the cookies aren’t perfect. The purpose is to be together, feel connected and share in the moment.
- Ask others to pitch in with your other responsibilities such as grocery shopping and food preparation so that you have time to be available and focused with your loved one.
- We know that everything takes more time when caring for a loved one with dementia so on the day of the holiday, double the amount of time you need to set aside to accomplish any task.
- Prior to a gathering, give family and friends a “heads up’ about any significant changes since their last visit and share helpful ways to engage.
- Holiday gatherings tend to be loud and active which can upset an individual with dementia. It is best to select a quieter area in the home for connecting with a person with dementia. This might also include a quieter place to eat the holiday meal with one or two others.
So often caregivers tell me that they don’t want to burden family and friends and therefore don’t share what is their day-to-day reality. The best gift caregiver’s can receive is the understanding and support of others. Caregivers need to ask for help from others. At best, caregivers should have a list available when someone asks, “How can I help you”?
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.
Working Women as Caregivers
Forbes magazine recently published an eye-opening article on the realities of working women as caregivers. Many women that I see in my practice are suffering trying to balance the dual responsibilities of working and caring for a family member in a work place that shows little regard and support. My response has been to present workshops for caregivers in corporations. My last was at UPS. These workshops have proven to initiate greater support working towards accommodating to the realities facing working caregivers.
Here is an excerpt from a recent article in Forbes magazine.
“When employers force their employees to choose between work and family, everyone loses. This can be particularly true for women, who still make up 60% of the family caregiver population (though men are increasingly shouldering the responsibility).
Two out of every five adults — tens of millions of Americans — are family caregivers of loved ones. Most of the people caring for someone at home are also working full- or part-time jobs. But increasingly, working women over 50 are leaving their jobs in order to provide the necessary care.
Far too often, women may leave a job in order to provide care if they are not supported or accommodated at work. But if they drop out of the labor force, it can become quite difficult for them to rejoin the workforce once their caregiving obligations have ceased.”
The article continues: “Family caregiving is today’s issue just as childcare was in the 1980s. Employers need to recognize and accommodate the reality that so many workers today have significant caregiving responsibilities at home.”
If you want to raise awareness and get the accommodations you need within your workplace, I have a working caregivers presentation to offer corporations. contact me at: http://www.viviangreenkorner.c...
To read the entire article got to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2016/10/10/caregiving-is-forcing-women-50-to-leave-the-workforce/#f9fa91d364d9