Support for family caregivers

Caregiver

Back in 2012, November was designated as National Family Caregivers Month. Even though most Americans have been or will become the primary caregiver for a family member in their lifetimes, we are just now recognizing how important it is to care for and support those in a caregiver role.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 65 million Americans currently serve as the primary caregiver for their aging or disabled loved ones. That figure represents our nation’s largest group of long-term care providers. Caregivers routinely face long hours, physical fatigue, emotional stress and consistently put themselves and their own needs at the bottom of their priority list.

Thankfully, there are many resources available to assist caregivers facing the challenge of caring for a sick or disabled loved one. The Parkview Warsaw Center for Healthy Living (CFHL) is hosting a Caregiver Educational Series on the third Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. to help offer support and share valuable information with those who are experiencing this season of life.

The next session in the series will be held Thursday, November 21, and will focus on the many types of living arrangements available to those who need care. Representatives from several healthcare facilities will host a panel discussion on the differences between non-medical services, home health care, senior communities, assisted living and much more.

“We know that being a caregiver can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel isolated and alone,” Karen Kauffman, Community Liaison for Home Helpers of Warsaw, said. Karen not only helps lead the Caregiver Seminars, she also serves as a facilitator for the Alzheimer and Dementia Support group that meets monthly at the Parkview Warsaw CFHL. “This series was designed to empower caregivers with the information and support they need. We want them to realize there are resources around them before a real crisis occurs.”

The last session in the series, to be held on December 19, is titled “Coping with Losses” and will focus on ways to deal with the common losses that occur during the progression of age or disease, whether it be the loss of independence, physical abilities, cognitive function or personality changes. The panel will focus on different coping mechanisms and ways to deal with the stressors these losses can bring.

“More than anything, we want caregivers to remember how vital it is to take time for their own mental and physical well-being,” Karen said. She stressed the importance of eating well, getting adequate sleep, exercising, and taking time for activities that bring joy. “I always tell caregivers if you don’t take the time to care for yourself, you won’t be able to take good care of your loved one. We want them to remember that self-care is not selfish; it’s an expression of how much they want to bring their best selves to the one they love.”

To reserve a spot at an upcoming Caregiver Session, please call 260-266-6500. The Parkview Warsaw Center for Healthy Living is located at 1305 Mariners Drive, Warsaw, IN 46582.              

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