If you have been a family caregiver for any amount of time, you probably know that it can be an incredible opportunity to love and support someone who is important to you.
It also can be filled with feelings of frustration, overwhelm and uncertainty, as you navigate the systems your loved one may rely on for their care.
Part of what I do is to help a family caregiver, by providing caregiver support through my network of local professionals and organizations. I help you navigate the systems, coordinate the help or services your loved one needs and provide the caregiver resources needed to ensure their loved one gets the best care possible.
What is a family caregiver
A family caregiver (sometimes called “informal caregiving”) is a person who is responsible for attending to the daily needs of a loved one. Their loved one could be a family member, friend or life partner.
This caregiver is responsible for the physical and emotional support for their loved one. Often times, they also are responsible (at least in part), financially; providing money to ensure their loved one has what they need.
Historically, family caregivers are not paid for their caregiving services.
Who are family caregivers?
Nearly anyone can be a family caregiver. Over 65 million people in the United States are informal caregivers. These are spouses, family members, adult children, life partners and neighbors. They can be any age and from any walk of life. The average age of a family caregiver is 49, with a recent uptick between the ages of 50 and 64.
What caregivers do
As a family caregiver, your goal is to help your loved one accomplish everything they need to do on a daily basis. If your parent is wanting to age in place, early on the amount of assistance you provide will typically be less. However, as they continue to grow older, the amount will increase. Some of these duties can include:
Personal care – Dressing, bathing, bathroom, grooming and exercise.
Transportation – Appointments, activities and errands.
Household – Shopping, housekeeping, laundry, repairs
Food – Meal prep
Mobility – Getting in, out of and around the house. Getting in and out of a wheelchair, car or shower.
Companion – Companionship and general supervision
Health – medication management, doctor’s appointments, following doctor’s care plan, daily health monitoring.
Family caregiver resources
What do caregivers need most? In my experience; compassion and direction from caring professionals that can help guide them as they navigate their caregiving journey.
There are many caregiver resources to help you in our community. Some are paid and others come at no cost. These resources range from caregivers support groups to organizations that provide respite care or financial support for caregivers to long-term care options that can improve quality of life.
One of the things I do for my clients is to connect them with the organizations, support or local businesses that can provide help to caregivers of aging parents or other loved ones.
Many of the organizations or businesses in my network can deliver the exact types of services or support you need right here in our community. So, if you’re a long-distance caregiver, I can get you plugged into and help coordinate the local resources that can provide care for your loved one.
As wonderful and rewarding as caregiving can be, it can be a heavy burden at times. That’s why having someone in your corner who is concerned about taking care of the caregiver (you), is so beneficial. It can help keep you from ever reaching the burned-out stage, by giving you the support you need, when you need it. I help you get the type of assistance your loved one needs, while helping you take care of yourself.
To help you understand the role of family caregiver a little bit more, here is an infographic from the Caregiver Action Network with 10 tips for family caregivers.
I’m going to add one more: Get help from someone who will help make sure your parent or loved one is taken care of properly.
If you are or are becoming a caregiver for a family member, and you would like to have a compassionate and experienced help, we’re just a phone call away.
1. Caregiver Health, Family Caregiver Alliance, https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-health
2. Care for the Family Caregiver: A place to start, Health Plan of New York and National Alliance for Caregiving, http://www.caregiving.org/pdf/resources/CFC.pdf
3. Caregiver Duties and Responsibilities Guide, Vantage Mobility, https://www.vantagemobility.com/blog/caregiver-duties-responsibilities-home-care
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