Learn how you can provide the best care to others — and yourself — by finding the proper caregiver support, resources, and expert advice when needed.
If you are a caregiver for a loved one or friend, you are far from alone. An AARP report revealed 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. are unpaid family caregivers. This is a total of 53 million caregivers — and that doesn’t even include paid care workers.
As seniors age, many first begin receiving care at home. Whether you are just stepping into the caregiver role or have provided care to others for years, there is additional support available.
Caregiver Tips: Finding Needed Support and Resources
It’s common for caregivers to feel overwhelmed and anxious, but it doesn’t have to be. Caregiver support and resources are available to those who know where to look.
Share these tips with caregiver friends to spread the word: help is available for those who need it.
As a caregiver stepping into your new role, you may feel lost and confused. Ease your mind with education. Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s illness or disability.
Perform online research, visit the library, or make an appointment with your loved one’s doctor. Take notes and ask for pamphlets or other resources. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor for advice, or to ask for support recommendations.
The more you know about your loved one’s illness, the better care you will provide. It also will relieve much of your anxiety to know what you can expect and how to navigate the ins and outs of their illness or disability.
Understand Your Limits
Understanding your loved one’s illness and condition not only provides the confidence to care for them, but also helps you realize your own limitations.
Will there come a point as they age where you won’t physically, emotionally, or financially be able to provide the necessary care?
This is important to know and can help you make an accurate care plan that involves other people or support.
Find Caregiver Support and Resources
No matter what level of care you’re providing to a loved one, you’re going to need support. Understanding their condition and your own limitations sets you up for your next step: Asking for help.
Since you know what you can provide, you also know what you can’t provide. Ask other family members or friends what they are able to contribute, and seek out professional help, such as home health aides or delivery services, for the rest.
If you are unsure where to turn for specific resources, organizations such as the Family Caregiver Alliance and the Alzheimer’s Association provide caregiver support and resources. The Alzheimer’s Association even has a 24-hour helpline that caregivers can call. At The Kensington Falls Church, we also host Caregiver Connect, a monthly support group for caregivers, as well as the Family Support Group for our Kensington family and friends.
Take Care of Yourself
It is essential for caregivers to take care of themselves, too. If you are stretched to your limits and facing burnout, you simply can’t properly care for another person. Both your health and their health will suffer.
Take time each day to perform an activity you enjoy, and make sure you have adequate breaks for rest, proper meals, and entertainment. Consider incorporating these types of activities into your day:
- Talk to a friend
- Write in a journal
- Pray or meditate
- Continue valued hobbies
- Find a support group
- Take a walk
Proper sleep and nutrition alone can make a big difference in your overall health and ability to cope.
It also helps to be able to slow down and be present, so you can truly enjoy your loved one and all the gifts caregiving can bring to both of you. Caring for yourself properly will allow you the strength and peace of mind to be more present each day.
Seek Financial Support
Many caregivers don’t realize the financial options available, or the financial toll caregiving can take. You may need to modify your home in certain ways, take time off of work, or pay for groceries and medical care.
Research your options, including long-term care insurance, and speak with a financial advisor on how you can properly plan and budget with your new responsibilities.
Kensington Konnect Offers Caregivers Specialized Support
If you’re looking for a care hub packed with information, add Kensington Konnect to your list of caregiver support and resources.
This space was created to provide caregivers, seniors, and families with expert advice as well as entertainment sources.
Kensington Konnect provides:
- Virtual presentations
- Informative articles
- How-to videos
- Online classes
- Virtual tours and concerts
- Book recommendations
- Wellness advice
Its valuable resources educate caregivers on what to expect and how to care for a loved one. It also offers support for specialized care, including caring for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
What if Caregiving Becomes Too Much?
Sometimes moving to an assisted living community is the best option for your loved one in terms of quality of care and cost.
Communities such as The Kensington Falls Church are dedicated to the highest quality of loving care, including specialized care for those with dementia or Parkinson’s disease. Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.
We offer a full spectrum of clinical support, allowing your loved one to truly age in place despite their changing care needs.
Please call us today to tell us about your loved one’s unique care needs and goals, and to hear how we can meet and exceed these goals.