Last year nearly 16 million CAREgivers provided more than 18 billion hours of unpaid care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. According to the surveys collected in 2015, two-thirds of these CAREgivers are women, one-third of these are 65 years old or older.
Being a CAREgiver is physically demanding, emotionally exhausting, and often times creates financial hardships. To be good care providers CAREgivers need support. Here are some ways that we can support those who give so much to others:
1. Be in touch – 60 percent of dementia CAREgivers report emotional stress, 40 percent suffer from depression. It is an invaluable investment of intention to regularly check in on CAREgivers, providing sincere interest in their wellbeing can help reassure them they are not alone and will often elevate their mood.
2. Provide meals – establishing a regular plan for providing meals creates pockets of time. These valuable pockets give a CAREgiver the ability to use the time spent preparing a meal for rest, exercise, and self-care.
3. Provide respite – people with dementia require supervision, establishing a regular plan to provide that supervision for a loved one means the primary CAREgiver gets a break. Sharing the load makes everyone’s load lighter.
4. Deliver groceries, disposable supplies, or funds – many CAREgivers lose income as a result of reducing or quitting work, which is a real financial hardship for most families. Purchasing necessities for the family helps lighten this burden.
5. Provide recreation – make sure the primary CAREgiver has regular recreation to protect them from isolation and to provide them social engagement, these investments significantly support emotional health and wellbeing.
6. Partner in health – many CAREgivers lose sight of their own health due to prioritizing the person they are caring for. Becoming a partner in health with your family CAREgiver can create space for them to reflect upon personal concerns about their own health and plan for regular healthcare.
Our support matters. CAREgivers deserve our encouragement, thoughtfulness, and efforts. To learn more about the ways OPICA supports CAREgivers click HERE.
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