Help For Caregivers
This page updated: Sunday, October 12, 2003
HELP FOR CAREGIVERS
The following information was provided by:
Chesapeake Health Department
748 Battlefield Boulevard, N.
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Telephone -- 757-382-8600
Caregivers' Support Group -- FREE OF CHARGE HERE Family Caregiving Statistics HERE Stresses of Being a Caregiver HERE Ten Great Tips for Caregivers HERE
For adults who are caring for an adult family member or friend.
Offers peer support, education, resources and referrals.
FIRST Friday of every month
TIMES? Morning meeting -- 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Afternoon meeting -- 2 p.m. to 4 p.m .
SECOND Monday of every month
TIME? Evening meeting -- 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE? Chesapeake Health Department
748 Battlefield Blvd. N.
Light refreshments served at meetings. NO CHARGE
Contact Mrs. Carolyn Savinsky, R. N.
Public Health Nurse at 382-2640 for additional information
1. SET BOUNDARIES. Be honest, open and direct about your time and energy limits. Maintain a sense of balance for you, your care receiver and your family.
2. SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOUR OWN NEEDS. Schedule a little time for yourself at least once a week. Take an art class, go out dancing on oldies night, or learn to play the piano.
3. BECOME EDUCATED. Have a clear understanding of what is necessary in providing care. Be sure to keep track of resources that give you easy access to information on health care, support services, legal matters, the aging process, housing and other care options.
4. BE CREATIVE. Brainstorm with family, friends and professionals about traditional and non-traditional ways to provide dare and maintain dignity and control for your aging loved ones.
5. SHARE THE CARE. Share the responsibility of elder care with family, friends and paid helpers.
6. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, experiencing low self-esteem, having frequent negative thoughts, feeling exhausted most of the time, abusing food or substances, contact a mental health professional to talk about
7. TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME. Focus on the present. Find simple, meaningful encouragement to fill you each day.
8. RESPECT AUTONOMY. Respect your care receiver's need to make his/her own decisions and to remain in control of as many aspects of
his/her life as possible.
9. TALK WITH OTHERS. Meet and talk with others who share similar experiences to help you manage your stress and reduce your feelings of isolation.
10. KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR. Have a daily humor break. Watch funny videos and share light-hearted jokes. This is important for you AND your care receiver.
*** More than one quarter (26.6%) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member, or friend during the past year. Based on current census data, that translates into more than 54 million people. Source: National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) Random Sample Survey of 1000 Adults, Funded by CareThere.com, Summer 2000
*** Caregiving is no longer predominantly a women's issue. Men now make up 44% of the caregiving population. Source: National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) Random Sample Survey of 1000 Adults, Funded by CareThere.com, Summer 2000
*** The value of the services family caregivers provide for "freed" is estimated to be $196 billion a year. Source: Health Affairs March/April 1999
*** Virtually one half of the US population has a chronic condition. Of these, 41 million were limited in their daily activities. 12 million are unable to go to school, to work or to live independently. Source: Chronic Care in America (Institute for Health & Aging, University of CA/SF for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) 1996
*** People over 85 years of age are the fastest growing segment of the population. Half of them need some help with personal care. Source: US Bureau of the Census Statistical Brief, Sixty-five Plus in the United States, May, 1995
*** Elderly caregivers with a histyory of chronic illness themselves, who are experiencing caregiving related stress, have a 63% higher mortality rate than their non-caregiving peers. Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, December 15, 1999, Vol. 282, No. 23
*** The pool of family caregivers is dwindling. In 1990, there were 11 potential caregivers for each person needing care. In 2050, that ration will be 4:1. Source: Chronic Care in America - as above
*** Sixty-one percent6 (61%) of "intense" family caregivers (those providing at least 21 hours of care a week) have suffered from depression. Some studies have shown that caregiver stress inhibits healing. Source: National Family Caregivers Association/Fortis Long Term Care (Caregiving Across the Life Cycle) 1998; Lancet 1995;346 (Slowing of Wound Healing by Psychological Stress - Kiecolt-Glaser, JK, et al)
*** Heavy duty caregivers, especially spousal caregivers, do not get consistent help from other family members. One study has shown that as many as three fourths of these caregivers are "going it alone". Source: Caregiving Across the Life Cycle - as above
*** Approximately 80% of home care services are provided by family caregivers. Source: US General Accounting Office (GAO/HEHS 95-26, "Long-Term Care: Diverse, Growing Population Includes Millions of Americans of All Ages"), 1994
*** A recent study calculated that American businesses lose between $11 billion and $29 billion each year due to employees' need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older. Source: National Alliance for Caregiving/Met Life Study of Employer Costs for Working Caregivers
*** Fifty-nine percent (59%) of the adult population either is, or expects to be, a family caregiver. Source: National Family Caregivers Association (Random Sample Survey of 1,000 Adults -- sponsored by Aleve)
Daily life can present abundant sources of stress. When you couple that with caring for a spouse, parent, sibling or child, who is disable or chronically ill, the stress of being a caregiver can become overwhelming.
There are an estimated 25 million family caregivers in the United States. Their family members often require special care, including around-the-clock supervision, specialized communications, and help with daily activities.
Caregivers can experience enormous stress from their added responsibilities in caring for a loved one. They can become depressed, anxious, or develop other physical ailments as a result of the stress of caregiving.
Research has recognized the impact of being a caregiver on people's health. A study in the December 15, 1999, issue of JAMA shows that an elderly caregiver, who experiences mental or emotional strain while caring for a disabled spouse, is at a higher risk of death than spouses who are not caregivers. However, spouses who were providing care, but did not experienced strain, did not have a higher death rate.
Ways to Reduce Stress:
**Don't take on more responsibility than you can handle. Learn to say "no" or get someone else to help.
**Use relaxation techniques, like meditating, visualizing comforting scenery, or listening to soothing music.
**Take one thing at a time. If you have an overwhelming amount of things that need your attention,
pick one task and work on it. Once you accomplish THAT task, move on to the next one.
**Make your lifestyle as healthy as possible, by eating nutritious meals, limiting caffeine and alcohol,
getting enough rest, exercising regularly and balancing work and recreation.
**Schedule time to take a break and do things that you enjoy.
**Have family and friends you can turn to for love, support, and guidance.
**Educate yourself about your loved one's condition. Information is empowering.
**Consider joining a support group.
**See your doctor, if the stress begins to feel overwhelming.
**Your doctor, or a social worker, may help you find resources in the community to give you the support you need.
Information You Should ALWAYS Have Available
1) Name and telephone number of all your loved one's health care providers.
2) Medical conditions and treatment plans, including medications, special diets or activities.
3) Where vital information about bank accounts, will and insurance are kept.
4) Community agencies and other resources that assist in caregiving.
Home Safety Checklist
Caregivers should be aware of the following potential dangers in the home, when caring for an impaired care receiver:
poisons, medicines, hazardous products;
water heater temperature -- adjust setting to avoid burns from hot water;
emergency exits, locks to secure the home and, if necessary, door alarms and ID bracelets;
fire hazards, such as stoves, other applianceds, cigarettes, lighters and matches;
sharp objects, such as knives, razors or sewing needles;
loose rugs, furniture in the way and cluttered pathways;
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
National Mental Health Association
1-800-969-6642 (toll free number)
1-800-433-5959 (TTY toll free number)
Family Caregiver Alliance
1-415-434-3388 (toll number)