Caregiver Resources: Helping Those Who Help Their Loved Ones
On this Thanksgiving I worry about one of my dear friends who recently found out that her elderly father has a form of leukemia. In addition to the already existing stress that the holidays can bring, she now finds herself caring for children (five of them) and a sick parent. My friend is part of what is known as the sandwich generation, individuals who are caring for both children and elderly parents. CBS News reports that an estimated 16 million Americans find themselves in this role of super caregiver for two sets of generations. In the case of my friend, not only is she taking care of her dad but also two of her children have chronic medical conditions. Each time she must take her father for chemo or bring meals to his home, she must also think about who will watch her children as she tends to her dad. In one day she could be shuttling children to the pediatrician in the morning and then watching her dad get a blood transfusion in the afternoon. It is a balancing act like no other.
Although my friend seems optimistic and upbeat I worry about how she will hold up in the months to come. Caregivers are more at risk for developing stress related disorders as well as depression. One recent statistic provided by Caring.com is that depression levels among caregivers are more than two times the national average.
So how can we help our caregivers who may be at risk for burn-out, stress, and depression? In honor of my friend and others like her the month of November has been designated as National Caregiver’s Month. To do our part here on MyDepressionConnection we are going to provide resources to find both information and support for our caregivers.
Please note: Health Central is not responsible for the functionality or usefulness of any external link provided. You must determine if any particular resource is appropriate for your unique situation or circumstance.
National Caregiver Organizations
Support Groups for Caregivers
• Cargiver.com List of Regional Support Groups
• Family Caregiver Alliance: List of on-line support groups for caregivers
• Family Voices: Support for families who have a child with special health care needs or disabilities
Financial Assistance for Caregivers and Their Loved Ones
• Benefits.gov: Guide to government benefits
Health Central Articles and Resources for Caregivers
Take the time to recognize and support those people who are caring for others. Caring for family members having a chronic mental or medical condition is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. The hours are long (sometimes 24 hours a day), this is usually unpaid work, and the work itself can be physically and mentally exhausting. Give your friend or loved one a link to this article or to one of the many caregiving associations. Take them out to lunch, babysit, or just provide a time to listen to their concerns. It could make all the difference in the world to someone struggling to meet the demands of caregiving.
Thank you to all the caregivers out there. The gift of love and care that you give to your family or loved ones can never be replaced. Remember to take time for yourself so that you can keep giving to others. Health Central wants you to know that we appreciate you!