You see how hard they work each day—how loving, patient and giving they are as they provide daily care for your loved one.  More often than they allow, a caregiver could use a friend or two, somebody to talk with and take notice of all their hard work. You may be their rock but having another rock to fall back on is good for the both of you. 

Being a caregiver is never an easy job.  You may sometimes forget, however, that it’s all-too-often an isolating and lonely job as well.  This being said, have you ever stopped to think what would sustain your parent caregiver, who surely feels overworked, sleep deprived and unpleasant towards the situation at time?

The answer to this question is rather simple. It’s peer support.  Regularly scheduled, ongoing caregiver support groups can:

(1) Give attending support group members a safe and confidential place to vent, cry, and share emotions with others who may know intimately what you are going through

(2) Increase personal and peer interactions amongst those in need of mutual positive reinforcement.

By the nature of their work, primary caregivers tend to forego psychosocial support and regular time with friends, more so than non-care giving peers in their social networks.  They also are less likely to take a physical break from their work.  A lack of break time may translate into less patience and more frustration as a caregiver.  

It’s recommended by public health officials that full-time caregivers take a break consistently and have another trusted person regularly serve in a caregiving capacity in their place. It may be a neighbor who has known both of your parents since their children met and first played together 32 years ago. Or, it may be a member of the elder ministry group at church who voluntarily provides respite care for your vulnerable parent so you can spend more time with your children and grandchildren. If your parent caregiver is not fortunate enough to have friends and family to help in this respite giving role, the trusted individual could be a professional member of Senior Helper’s team of highly experienced companion caregivers.

Senior Helper’s caregivers are educated and personally trained by a national dementia care consultant in providing specialized care to the client living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This specialized care is designed to provide the client with Alzheimer’s just the right amount of assistance to ensure he or she still feels capable.

Most caregivers experience some benefit by sharing, commiserating and hearing common experiences expressed by peers who are going through much of the same daily challenges as they are.  Through engaging in mutual psychosocial support, there is a propensity or even a acquired knack for caregivers to buoy one other.  Empathy flows more easily and freely between caregivers in the same support group because they know each other’s personal stories, and over time and come to feel like intentional quasi family.  Finally, many caregivers find their spirit conspicuously lifted, when given a chance to be respectfully heard and raptly listened to without getting critical feedback in return

Mutual caregiver support is for everyone who is either a full-time or part-time committed adult caregiver.  Here are some tips to help your caregiver:

  • Encourage your parent caregiver to try out a support group. Remind them not underestimate the power of a small group to change the lives of the individuals in the group.  
  • Reassure them not be afraid to air your dirty laundry to others, even if they are strangers.  Remind them that they have dirty laundry and will want to the same at some point as well. 
  • Motivate your parent caregiver to take more breaks from care giving. We all need and deserve a break from our normal routine, which is something caregivers of young children seem to realize and practice better than caregivers of adults.

 

Senior Helpers is a national organization, with one or more locally owned and operated offices in your area. We are always standing by, seven days week, to answer your questions and offer help and assistance at a moment’s notice.  Please call us today at 952-392-1999 or 651-204-9635, or send us an email at - twincites@seniorhelpers.com.




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