The Atlantic published an article recently highlighting the many issues facing people who are thrust into the role of caring for aging parents. In addition to the dramatic emotional toll caregiving can take, finding a way to balance a career and provide care for a loved one can be a difficult juggling act to say the least. We’re here today with some practical help for caregivers.
As the author of the Atlantic article points out, there are many resources out there offering support and guidance on most maternity or childcare-related issues, but for help on navigating the world of unpaid caregiving, not so much (or at least not as much).
Let’s explore this topic that affects so many of us (or eventually will down the road), and yet receives so little attention.
Resources to Help for Caregivers
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 44 million unpaid eldercare providers in America—nearly one-half of whom are employed full-time. Even for those working part-time, there are often not enough hours in the day to fulfill all work duties and also meet the needs of an aging parent or family member.
Whether you’re helping with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, hygiene, or just visiting, caregiving can be an immense, overwhelming task. Thankfully, there are resources out there to provide insight and help for caregivers.
Caregiving.com – This site is a community of people who share tips and offer “ideas, insights and inspiration” to those providing care for a family member or friend.
Family Caregiver Alliance – The FCA is a nonprofit dedicated to helping caregivers through education, services, research, and education. They also have a handy section that can help you prepare to take on the role of caregiver.
Help Guide – Here you’ll find tips on how to make caregiving easier, how to prevent caregiver burnout, dementia and Alzheimer’s resources, end of life care, and much more.
National Alliance for Caregiving – This nonprofit coalition offers help for caregivers throughout the U.S. by increasing awareness of caregiving-related issues through advocacy and research. You can find supportive caregiving groups in your area or learn about “Caregiving Champions” who are making their voice heard on caregiving issues.
AARP – Read uplifting stories about caregiving, resources for palliative care, and how to overcome the trials and tribulations of caring for a loved one.
Eldercare Locator – This public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging can help you find a broad range of support in your local community.
The Caregiver Resource Center – If you need a step-by-step guide regarding advanced care planning and preparation, this site can be a tremendous help for caregivers.
Alzheimer’s Resource Care Center – Assistance and advice for those facing the unique challenges posed by providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Caregiving Literature – Sometimes caregivers just need a good laugh (or cry). Reading about others who have experienced the ups and downs of caregiving can give you a fresh perspective and an encouraging boost.
You Are Not Alone
All of a sudden having to care for the one who once cared for you can be profoundly life-changing. But it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that there are ways to prepare. In addition to the resources listed above, you can financially prepare for caregiving with long-term care insurance.
Of course there is no way to completely prepare for the complex, often daunting role of caring for a loved one, but there is support and help for caregivers available. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
image Credit: Shutterstock