National Family Caregivers Month: The New Realities of Family Caregiving

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Woman caregiving for sick elderly man

All of us, at some time in our lives, have or will be a caregiver. Family caregivers are either relatives, friends, or neighbors who assist with another person’s care, are generally unpaid, and may not have had formal training. If you are fortunate to have a family member, you know how indispensable they can be in assisting with health care, household management, and navigating our complicated health care system.

The prevalence of family or friends assisting disabled and older adults is rising, from 16.6 percent in 2015 to 19.2% in 2020. That is about one in five Americans, and this number will grow as the U.S. population continues to age and live longer with multiple complex chronic health conditions.

Many caregivers report feeling a sense of purpose or meaning when caring for a loved one. Perhaps you were prepared and expecting this role, or maybe you were thrust into this situation and feel unprepared. These positive emotions may be comingled with feelings of stress or strain. Since we live in a warrior society where many believe they can do anything they put their minds to, you might be uncomfortable asking for help even when this is not working for you or your loved one. What do you do if your own physical or emotional health prevents you from fulfilling this role?

There is no shame in asking for help or consulting a professional Care Manager. Sometimes all that is needed is another perspective on the situation. A Care Manager can:

  • help a family caregiver create a plan and a routine for daily care and provide local resources that would otherwise take hours to find.
  • provide a home safety assessment that will help with the safe and efficient delivery of care.
  • when there is no consensus on what is needed and family members are fighting, a Care Manager can assist your family with an informed discussion about what is needed and how best to proceed.

Family caregiving can be equally challenging and rewarding. Having a Care Manager as a consultant for those situations that push your buttons or where your family is stuck and unable to move your situation forward can be just what you need. Consider Stowell Associates for care management and home care when needed.

Other available resources are:
Family Caregiver Alliance: www.caregiver.org
Alzheimer’s Association: www.alz.org

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