It's always a good time to honor and recognize the spouses, family members and friends who dedicate countless hours to caring for their loved ones. North America is home to millions of family caregivers. On top of having tremendous fortitude, they're an interesting bunch. Check out our list below for some fascinating facts about caregivers.
Over eight-million Canadians currently provide care for chronically ill or disabled friends and family members. If you're a caregiver, you know how demanding it can be. Your role as a caregiver, can greatly interfere with all other aspects of your life. Although you may feel as though your career is being negatively affected, there are ways to keep your career skills sharp.
Consider managing your stress before it manages you. Regardless of whether you've chosen your good stressor (planning a big party for someone special), keeping yourself in stress mode for weeks, months, or years at a time will do a number on your hippocampus that sets up vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease. Here's how it works.
Helping an elderly parent with bathing, can come with some fear or embarrassment for both of you. You want to maintain the person's privacy, dignity and independence as much as possible. It might take longer than it used to for the person to do something for themselves, but the benefits far outweigh the extra time.
As a community nurse I've heard stories from families who, instead of checking items off shopping lists and going to holiday parties, were taking someone to multiple medical appointments. Or, they were worried and asking me how to keep their mom calm and comfortable at the busy family gathering as her dementia was taking hold.
Being a family caregiver, caring for an aging parent, is a tough assignment. It is one that many baby boomers are just beginning to encounter. Here are some suggestions for making a welcome difference in the lives of friends like these based on using your common sense with respect to your friend's needs and your own availability.
I can definitely attest to the many challenges and obstacles that family caregivers contend with on a daily basis. A study by the Change Foundation, 22 per cent of caregivers showed signs of distress, including anger, depression, being overwhelmed and unable to continue providing care. But through it all, you'll also have your eyes and heart opened in amazing ways.
I've been reflecting on the fun experiences my family and friends had this summer. My thoughts inevitably also turn to those with new health challenges and disabilities, and their caregivers, the people who are supporting them. I've learned that there are many wonderful opportunities to get out and create lasting happy memories, participate in things that bring joy, and still manage the care.
Vicky asks: I've been taking care of my mom who is 74, in poor health and lives on her own. We've never had a very close relationship, and she criticizes everything I do. It doesn't matter if it's house cleaning, taking her to appointments, or getting her groceries -- it's like I can never do anything to her satisfaction.
By now, most people recognize that the stages of grief outlined in the Kubler-Ross model are not a map. Each of us walks that lonely road in our own way. ut there is one aspect of grief that no one talks about, because it isn't "nice." But, let's be blunt: some part of grief is just plain feeling sorry for yourself.
Kay asks: My husband has dementia and the symptoms are getting so bad that I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I am embarrassed to take him to our daughter's house for fear of what he might do or say. I don't want our kids or grandkids to see him act this way. I am not prepared for these changes and I don't know if I can manage for much longer.
My wife Karen was recently diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. We want to help but Karen gets frustrated when any of us try to do things for her, with the kids or around the house. I don't know how to be strong as the best husband, caregiver, and deal with my own fears about what's happening. Can anyone be a 'super caregiver'?
Todd asks: My parents are getting older and recently, mom has become afraid of falling. She often talks about friends who have taken a spill, and whenever they come over she tells me we should have a railing for our front steps. She's even avoiding rooms where our kids' toys are on the floor. Neither one of them have had a fall -- how worried should we be about this?
Rebecca asks: My grandmother is getting older and was recently diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's Disease. She is still very healthy and independently living on her own. We have talked about her desire to remain at home and independent for as long as she can. How can we keep her safe in her home?
My mom's health has been deteriorating greatly over the past year. As an only child, I am her primary caregiver and this last hospital stay has really taken a toll on me. She gets very limited formal help and the rest of her care is left to me. I am so tired and can't concentrate on anything any more.