Supporting Family Caregivers

Family caregivers make up the majority of long-term care providers in the United States. Every year more than 65 million Americans make the choice to provide nursing and periodic or continual care for their aging or disabled loved ones. That number is growing as advances in medicine are allowing us to live longer. November is National Family Caregiver’s Month, a time to recognize the amazing efforts of these wonderfully caring people, but also a time to make sure that they, in turn, have the support they need to continue. 
 
One of the greatest things we can do is encourage family caregivers to make themselves a priority. Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it is also physically and emotionally demanding, and the natural tendency of most caregivers is to put their own needs last. Because of the stress of dealing with caregiving responsibilities, family caregivers have a disproportionate number of health and emotional problems. Something as seemingly simple as taking the time to breathe, sleep, and have a nutritious meal can make all the difference.
 
Make sure family caregivers know it’s okay to ask for help. Assistance can take many forms: 
  • The community of friends and family 
  • Local medical services
  • The assistance of a professional
As a friend or family member of a caregiver, it’s best to have a clear sense of what is needed and what you are personally able to provide. This may mean finding time or activities where you (or someone you know) can be of service but can just as easily mean providing a meal or a non-judgemental ear.
 
In many places, the community and local hospitals have group activities and short-term (respite) care available, as well as support groups and advocates for caregivers.
 
A supportive community can be a great relief and a wonderful resource to both a caregiver and their charge. However, there are times when there are either too many factors to juggle or the circumstances are too complex to navigate without prior experience. In these moments it is good to know that there are people trained to lighten the load: 
  • When caring for a loved one’s conditions becomes overwhelming and confusing, it may be time to consult an Aging Life Care Specialist, if only for recommendations on how to proceed. www.aginglifecare.org
  • When faced with managing a loved one's finances, in addition to one’s own, it may be time to consult a Daily Money Manager. www.aadmm.com
The Center for Disease Control also provides some guidelines (www.cdc.gov/features/caregivers-month) to help new caregivers find their footing in what can be an overwhelming process.
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Eddy & Schein in New York at 212-987-1427 or in Los Angeles at 626-395-7572.
 
Rebecca Schein Gideon Y. Schein,
Rebecca R. Eddy
Partner/Co-Founder
Gideon Y. Schein
Partner/Co-Founder

Eddy & Schein
212. 987.1427
NYmail@eddyandschein.com

626.395.7572
CAmail@eddyandschein.com

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