Caregiving can be stressful, but help is available
By Annette Sandler • JFCS Aging Services Director
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month/National Family Caregivers Month. Rosalynn Carter once said there are four kinds of people in the world:
- Those who are caregivers
- Those who will be caregivers
- Those who are being cared for
- Those who will need care
Many people who are caregivers don’t always identify as such, and unfortunately don’t seek out assistance. Others may not think they need help, don’t know how to ask for help, and/or don’t know how to get started. You are a caregiver if you are assisting a loved one in areas such as helping with laundry, driving to doctor’s appointments, picking up groceries and medications, cleaning up the house when you visit, and more. Another sign you are a caregiver is if you worry about things not getting done if you do not do them.
Serving as a caregiver can take a toll:
- 25-50 percent of caregivers experience reactionary and/or clinical depression.
- Caregivers that spend 20 hours a week or more caring for their loved one are at risk for their own immune system to be compromised.
- On average, caregivers spend $5,000 per year out of their own pockets caring for their loved ones.
JFCS Senior Services offers Caregiver Coaching to assist people caring for their loved ones. Our Caregiver Coaches work with family members to guide them in making changes to improve everyday life at home; whether by promoting better self-care or by offering tips to deal with dementia-related behaviors. We can also work directly with people in early stage Alzheimer’s disease to plan for their own future.
Caregiver Coaching includes but is not limited to in-home assessments, care plans, caregiver education, training for responding to dementia-related behaviors, and referrals to community resources. We partner with caregivers to develop an action plan based on individual or family needs, values and goals.
Caregiving can be stressful, and JFCS is here to help. Our community is rich in resources – ask for help. A Caregiver Coach can teach you how to maintain your sanity and self-worth, and give you a vision of the life you want to lead.
JFCS Senior Services professional staff works closely with clients and families to ensure safe, supported and independent living at home and provide resources, education and respite for caregivers. Caregiver Coaches provide culturally-sensitive services; Russian-speaking coaches are available. Services are available on a sliding-fee scale—call 952-546-0616 for more information.
JFCS received Minnesota Department of Human Services’ 2018 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award in recognition of our work providing services and education to people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their care partners.
Also, save the date for “Keeping the Spirit Alive – The Conference for Caregivers and Those Supporting a Loved One with Dementia,” on April 7, 2019.