Caregiving Made Easier: Resources That Can Help
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I attended the New York State Caregiving and Respite Coalition conference a few weeks ago, where the theme was the Working Caregiver.
Several people at the conference repeated a quote from Rosalyn Carter: “There are only four kinds of people in this world — those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”
The message was that caregivers need to get help for themselves, not just those they care for. All of the experts noted the importance of getting organized (perhaps they read it here!). Caregivers need layers of support, not just one or two sources. Amy Goyer, AARP’s family and caregiving expert, shared her moving story of her own journey caring for her parents. She offered tips from her book, Juggling Work and Caregiving,including telling the audience to “keep filling your tank” by maintaining your health, eating well, taking respite breaks, and finding humor every day.
As Greg Johnson, director and creator of EmblemHealth’s Care for the Family Caregiver Initiative, noted, “We don’t refer to the sandwich generation anymore. It’s now the club sandwich [generation] because there are so many layers caregivers are responsible for."
I have discussed in previous blogs the concept that we can prepare to care and actually learn skills that will help us negotiate the caregiving journey. These skills don’t just appear magically in our wheelhouse of knowledge. I see patients at home right after they have been discharged from the hospital. So often, the poor family is overwhelmed because they are expected to administer treatments that nurses and other health professionals have gone to college for years to master!
To that end I would like to share a resource with you that has recently come across my desk. It is a book called Caregiving in the Comfort of Home, by Maria M. Meyer with Paula Derr, RN (CareTrust Publications, 4th edition, 2014).
The book is written at a level that all consumers will understand. The illustrations are plentiful and there are extra resources, checklists, and tips in every chapter. So far, I could be describing many great books that have been written on this subject. But this one takes organization to a new level; no stone is left unturned in providing information for family caregivers on how to prepare to care, provide care, and care for themselves along the way.
Did I say no stone?
As an example, in the Activities of Daily Living chapter (near and dear to the heart of an occupational therapist), there are 14 pages devoted to providing personal hygiene to your loved one. They describe the bed bath, the basin bath, the tub bath, the shower, nail care, hair care, shaving, oral care (including for those who are terminally ill), denture care, and foot care. This chapter goes on to teach how to make a bed with someone in it; how to toilet someone; and how to manage catheters, incontinence, and bowel issues. This same chapter then expounds on wound care and infection control in the home, and winds up with everything you ever need to know about feeding your loved one. Did I say everything?
Those of you who follow me know how obsessed I am with using organizing techniques to accomplish goals. Share with us how you’ve used organizing to help you on your caregiving journey.
Video: Caring for the caregivers | Frances Lewis | TEDxSnoIsleLibraries
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