How Can I Help Caregivers Start the Year Off Right?
I work as a social worker in the emergency department of a small community hospital. It’s a role I’ve been in for four years now. During that time, I’ve gotten to know many of the seniors who frequently end up here. One thing I’ve noticed recently is how weary the seniors’ family caregivers are becoming, especially those that care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
The hospital hosts a variety of community outreach programs and workshops for local residents. I’d like to put together one that helps family caregivers take better care of themselves in the new year.
Do you have any suggestions on what resources and programs I should include in my workshop? I’m looking for ideas to help caregivers find more time to take care of themselves.
Resources to Support Family Caregivers
It sounds like a familiar scenario. As a senior’s health declines, especially when some form of dementia is involved, family members become more and more exhausted. It isn’t uncommon for caregivers to experience a health crisis of their own as a result.
Your idea for a caregiver workshop sounds like a great one! Sometimes family members are so overwhelmed with the demands of caring for their loved one that they don’t take the time to explore options for help.
I would suggest you make sure families are aware of the following resources:
• Home delivered meal services, make it easier for caregivers to quickly prepare healthy meals
• Include the names of local grocery stores that shop for customers or services that shop and deliver groceries to you
• Senior-friendly transportation services can help get older adults to and from appointments
• Short-term respite care programs at local senior living communities can give caregivers a break
• If your hospital doesn’t offer telehealth services, include information on virtual physician visits
• Churches and synagogues often have friendly visitor programs with volunteers who sit with homebound seniors while caregivers take a break
• Home health services that bring physical, speech, and occupational therapy to the senior’s home
• Housekeeping and lawn care programs through the local agency on aging
• Online support groups
• Home-based exercise programs
One final suggestion is to make sure families are aware of senior living communities that offer home visits.
Benchmark communities offer home visit services at no cost to local families. One of our experienced associates will visit the senior’s or adult child’s home to answer questions about senior care, conduct a safety audit, and help make connections to community resources.