In USA Today recently there was an article that starts out, “The ranks of family caregivers jumped from 30% in 2010 to 39% last year and it’s likely to continue climbing…” This is per a new study from Pew Research Center and the California HealthCare Foundation.
At Support For Home, this is no surprise to us. We work with many family caregivers, sharing the responsibility for home care for Mom or Dad or a spouse. In some cases, the family caregiver is more focused on Power of Attorney or trustee responsibilities, but a number are performing personal care or providing dementia care services, as well, often without any real training or experience.
Sometimes last minute “training” comes from the Internet: “Over 70% of caregivers surf the Web to find health information, compared with about half of non-caregivers.” The problem is that there is so much “information” on the Internet, and a lot of it is, to use a technical term, crap. How is the daughter in New Jersey supposed to know that the notion of “role reversal” or “parenting our parents,” for example, is bunk, or that Habilitation Therapy is one of the most respected and fruitful approaches to dementia care?
It can be overwhelming to family caregivers to balance that role, careers, other family life commitments and still leave enough time and energy for themselves. As we tell family caregivers, you have to be selfish enough to take care of yourself if you are going to be able to provide support to a loved one.
If you are a family caregiver, do check out what is on the Internet. There is some good stuff. However, also reach out to caregiver support groups, Geriatric Care Managers and home care agencies that do caregiving “for a living.” There are some bad ones out there, but find one that is a member of the Home Care Association of America, then grill them! :-) Their advice and knowledge should be free.
Best wishes – and call us if we can help! Bert