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The 3 Things Every Family Caregiver Should Know

For most family caregivers, providing care is just part of life.  If a parent, husband, wife, or child needs help, this family member accepts their role of caregiver without hesitation or question.  Being responsible for another person’s health and well being is a tremendous responsibility.  If you tend to the needs of your family members, this may seem second- nature to you.

At Arms Around Family Caregivers, we understand your perspective.  You love your family, so why wouldn’t you care for them?  However, it is important to find balance in life.  Too many family caregivers give so much to their loved one that their own health, relationships, jobs, and finances suffer.  While caring for your family or close friends, remember these three tips.

  1. 1. Your Caregiving is Important

Whether you are just beginning your family caregiving experience or have been a family caregiver for years, your caregiving is important.  It’s easy to become exhausted caring for yourself and your loved one.  Keep in mind that with each errand you run, each doctor you visit, and each medication reminder is an action that helps your loved one to recover faster or feel healthier in their elder age.

You are also the liaison between the doctor and your family member.  Sometimes elders are embarrassed or afraid to admit that they are having trouble, especially to a doctor.  Untended issues can often lead to increasingly poor health, and with you as a buffer between your concerned loved one and the doctor’s expert advice, you can give the right kind of care.

  1. 2. You Don’t Need to Be the Only Caregiver

When you are the primary caregiver, it can be difficult to hand over their care to someone else, even for a few hours. Whether your sibling, your spouse or a professional can step in to help, you worry about your loved one falling or getting the right medication at the right time.  If you care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you worry about something going wrong while you are gone.  What if the doctor needs to be called, but no one knows the phone number? What if your loved one thinks you are abandoning them?

It’s hard to let go and let someone else take over, but when someone else is ready and willing to help, it is important to take advantage if this. Recognize that the person helping you is capable and ready to deal with any emergencies.  Assure your loved one that you will return soon, and that they are in good hands.  With more experience caring for your loved one, your secondary family caregiver will be able to provide better and better care.

  1. 3. There is Help for You

The National Family Caregiver Association reports that family caregivers who self-identify with this term are 94% more likely to seek help and respite care. The good news this that more organizations and charities are creating programs to benefit family caregivers.  In fact, November has been designated National Family Caregiver month by President Obama.

If you are a family caregiver or know someone who is a family caregiver look for the different forms of respite care available.  Family caregivers now have a place to turn for supportive communities, financial aid, professional respite care, and many more forms of help. Peruse our list of resources, or check out Arms Around Family Caregivers on Facebook for more information.

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