5 Ways to Thrive: How Caregivers Can Build Support

Being a good caregiver requires self care, too.

November is National Family Caregiver’s Month, and we’re kicking it off with five ways any caregiver can grow a thriving support network.

Being a family caregiver requires a high level of compassion and personal sacrifice, and it’s easy to neglect your own health and interests. But in order to be a good caregiver, you must practice self-care, too. The happiest, healthiest caregivers have a solid support system in place, and here are five ideas to get you started.

Enlist the help of family members. Categorize daily caregiving tasks into what needs to be done now, what can wait, what can be done by someone else, and what really does not have to be done. Take the tasks that can be done by someone else, note who in family would best accomplish them, and get on the phone. Tell family members help is needed and ask them to pitch in. Then do your best and give yourself permission to not worry so much about the rest.

Arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is a great tool for caregivers, from learning about a loved one’s disease to being able to prepare for physical and emotional changes. Visit our CareGiver Resource Library, which includes more than 1,500 links to local and national resources. Resources include nonprofits, government and health care organizations, home care services, financial and legal help, and much more.

Get help to prevent hunger. There are a variety of programs to help seniors get proper nutrition. If your loved one doesn’t qualify for federal or state nutrition programs, consider a service like Mom’s Meals. Mom’s Meals delivers nutritionally balanced, freshly prepared meals to customers’ homes. Designed to meet the needs of our aging population, each meal contains fresh foods, is microwaveable and will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Build social communities. Find support and feel less alone by connecting with others. Thriving caregiver communities can be found on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, blogs, forums — and don’t forget YouTube, the second-largest search engine in the world! When building connections, look for people you know, experts in caregiving, and helpful companies and brands.

Hire professional help as needed. If an elderly loved one needs in-home care, respite care, personal care or companionship, there are services that can help. Visiting Angels is a national, private-duty network that provides nonmedical senior care. The customer chooses the services, selects the caregiver and dictates schedules for feeding, bathing, etc. Caregivers are continually monitored through telephone check-ins and home visits to ensure recipients are cared for according to the standards of Visiting Angels.

For further reading:

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their
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loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wis. Visit http://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353. Help support this ad-free blog by answering several questions about caregiving here. It will take just two minutes.


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