#CaregiversConnect: National Family Caregivers Month
This November as we focus on Alzheimer’s Awareness, let’s also celebrate the unsung heroes in our society- family caregivers. #CaregiversConnect is a campaign that emphasizes the power of connections and community, empowering caregivers to seek support, access information and receive the recognition they deserve. Benchmark Senior Living wishes to express our heartfelt appreciation and to offer support and resources to these caregivers who selflessly dedicate their time and emotional strength to care for their aging family members, friends, or neighbors.
The Unsung Heroes
In the United States, there are over 53 million unpaid caregivers who serve as the primary source of support for seniors. Nearly half of these caregivers are over the age of 50, often juggling busy lives, careers, and running their own homes while selflessly caring for their aging family, friends or neighbors. This month is a special time for us all to express our gratitude and appreciate these family caregivers, who dedicate their time, energy, and hearts to provide incredible care to their loved ones.
10 Tips to Alleviate Burnout
The demands placed on family caregivers can be overwhelming, often leading to stress and potential burnout. While these caregivers work tirelessly and truly deserve recognition every day, this month serves as a dedicated time for that recognition and also to explore valuable tips and resources available to this community, some of which we have highlighted below.
- Accept offers of help: Don’t hesitate to accept help when it’s offered. It’s okay to be specific about what others can do for you. Have a list ready for options on how they may help alleviate some things on your plate like helping with transport to appointments, meal prep, cleaning, pharmacy runs, etc.
- Seek support from other caregivers: Connect with caregiver support groups or networks in your local community or online. Sharing experiences and advice can be a tremendous source of comfort and help.
- Take care of your own health: Prioritize your well-being with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and a good sleep routine. This can help you stay physically and emotionally resilient.
- Take respite breaks often: Regular breaks are essential for your well-being; you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others. Respite care is designed to give caregivers a much needed break and can be a great way to introduce a senior to a supportive living arrangement for a predetermined period of time.
- Watch out for signs of depression: Caregivers are at a higher risk to experience depression and anxiety, recognizing the signs and seeking help is crucial. Remember, you are not alone. If you’re feeling increasingly sad, stressed, or unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or specialist- sharing your feelings can make a world of difference, and others are here to help.
- Learn how to communicate with doctors: Understanding your loved one’s medical condition and having good, open communication with their healthcare providers can be a huge help as a caregiver. Feel free to have a list of questions ready for appointments, take notes and save the paperwork they offer at the end of a visit.
- Organize medical information: Keeping medical records and information well-organized can save you time and reduce stress when seeking medical care. Having a list of medications readily available on your phone or on a notepad you bring with you is a great example of how to be organized and ready in case of emergency.
- Be open to new technologies: Today there is an app or website for everything- from medication management, safety monitoring and staying connected with loved ones. Feel free to ask for help setting these up and consider it an extra set of helping hands.
- Ensure legal documents are in order: Review and update legal documents, such as power of attorney and advance directives, to ensure you have the necessary authority to make decisions on your loved one’s behalf.
- Give yourself credit: Acknowledge the importance of your role and how priceless the care is that you are providing. Remember, you are making a world of difference in someone’s life.
Resources and Funding Available
Along with these tips above, there are important resources available for caregivers. The National Family Caregiver Support Program provides grants to states and territories to fund various supports that help family and informal caregivers care for older adults in their homes for as long as possible. The Lifespan Respite Care Program also works to improve the delivery and quality of respite services for caregivers of older adults and people with disabilities.
Benchmark Senior Living Supporting Family Caregivers
In addition to these tips and resources, another excellent option to support caregivers is to explore respite care. Benchmark Senior Living offers move-in ready apartments with award-winning care, supportive health services, engaging programs, and all-day dining for those wanting to stay for a short period of time or to try out senior living. Scheduled local transportation for appointments and outings is also offered, which, as caregivers know, can be a tremendous support in caring for their loved ones. Consider respite care at Benchmark Senior Living, where a comfortable, home-like environment can make all the difference.
To all family caregivers, your unwavering commitment is inspiring, and your efforts do not go unnoticed. This month is our way to celebrate you and make sure you receive the appreciation and support you truly deserve. If you ever have questions or are considering senior living options, please feel free to reach out to Benchmark by finding a community near you. We are here to help you explore what’s best for you and your loved ones.