Tuesday, January 12, 2010


.  . ..
When a caregiver operates on little sleep
and seldom receives backup, burnout results.
The burnout can cause a double problem
because then two people need care.

.The number of caregivers worldwide
has reached an all time high.
According to a 2008 report by the Fisher
Center Alzheimer's Research Foundation,
there were, at that time, approximately a
million caregivers just for those with
Alzheimer's disease. That doesn't include
caregivers for any other illnesses.
Baby Boomers are inching into senior
citizen territory as well as retirement
(self-imposed or otherwise). Not only
are many of them, caring for parents
buta rising number are in need
of care themselves.
The scenario demonstrated by flight
attendants for decades is just as true
with caregiving: The able bodied need to
first put on their oxygen masks, literally
or figuratively, then help others.
In order to give the best care, it is
optimal if the caregiver is in a good place
emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Caregiving responsibilities carry with
them built in challenges.
With help, caregivers can be
even more productive taking care
of those who depend on them.
Respite can be found in a number of
places such as volunteer organizations,
family, friends, churches and spiritual
groups, and senior centers.
Some groups offer weekend respite,
allowing the caregiver to take a mini
vacation away from the caregiving site.
Even just a few hours away can work
wonders to calm a caregiver's mind,
making it possible to return to the job at
hand with a fresh outlook.
Little things mean so much.
Caregivers are often so busy with the
people in their charge that they forget
to slow down and reward themselves
occasionally. Taking a minute to say
"Thank You" to a caregiver can light up
a day. Dropping by with coffee and
muffins is one way to start off a
caregiver's day on the right foot.
Perhaps neighbors can collaborate
and alternate making supper for the
caregiver and family once a week or
making a few days' supply to be
frozen for later use. Stopping by to
clean a bathroom or do a few loads
of laundry are some ways to help out
that don't cost any money but can be
invaluable to a person who has his
or her hands full with caring for
someone else on a full-time basis.
Kathleen Klein

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