Tag Archives: caregivers

Caregiver Support

Whether you are caring for the elderly or a loved one with a disAbility, most every caregiver should surround their life with resources and relief.

These resources will not only keep you feeling refreshed and renewed, but they’ll help you connect with others, who may have, or be currently experiencing similar lifestyles. In recognizing the different support options available, you’ll find yourself actively combating the chances of caregiver burnout and achieving the best quality care possible for your loved one.

Support is within reach. You just have to know where to look.

Caregiver Support Groups
You may be surprised to learn that a quick internet search can connect you with entire communities of caregivers. Sure, there are plenty of self-help articles and tips and tricks out there, but the value of an honest forum and communal support goes miles.

Find a caregiver forum in your state or region and consider the benefits of sounding off with other members. Bounce ideas and successes off of one another. Share your wisdom and experiences. Ask questions and seek answers.

Forums:

  • provide perspective
  • highlight industry products
  • connect like-minded individuals
  • create a canvas for ongoing conversation
  • offer new tips and tricks
  • and so much more

A forum is a great foundation to replenish your optimism and hope as a caregiver. You may even turn online connections into real life friendships and accountability. And what better way to grow as a caregiver than to do it in the company and strength of a community of caregivers?

Financial Aid
Many caregivers spend upwards of 20 hours per week giving care. It’s no wonder finances and employment opportunities can sometimes be difficult to balance. Don’t count yourself out, though.

Seek education on grants and financial aid. There are many benefits for caregivers such as mobility vehicle loans and income tax return incentives. A little homework can save you money in the long run. Getting ahead on your finances can provide tremendous relief.

Fitness
Explore activities you can experience with your loved one. From adaptive sports to a traditional walk around the block, exercise is a great way to proactively deal with stress and clear the mind.

To take it one step further, consider joining a league in your area. If you’ve become a member of an online forum, ask around about local gatherings and activities or take initiative to start one on your own. The positivity and energy can be contagious for all involved.

Family and Friends
Don’t go it alone. The strongest caregivers know when it’s time to ask for help.

It’s healthy to reach out to those you trust and your family and friends can be awesome support groups. Invite them to step up and come beside you as you provide care for your loved ones and don’t be afraid to walk them through a day in your life. The more they know about your situation and your needs the better they’ll be able to assist in the journey of you and your loved one.

Managing your own stress can make the ultimate difference in the life of the loved one you care for. In caring for you, you’re caring for them.

November is Caregiver Awareness Month

Each year, more and more Americans are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disAbility, or the frailties of old age.  There are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today.

  • Two out of every 5 adults are family caregivers.  39% of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disAbled – up from 30% in 2010.
  • Alzheimer’s is driving the numbers up.  More than 15 million family caregivers are providing care to more than 5 million loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • But it’s not just the elderly who need caregiving.  The number of parents caring for children with special needs is increasing, too, due to the rise in cases of many childhood conditions.
  • Wounded veterans require family caregivers, too.  As many as 1 million Americans are caring in their homes for service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are suffering from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other wounds and illnesses.
  • And it’s not just women doing the caregiving.  Men are now almost as likely to say they are family caregivers as women are (37% of men; 40% of women). And 36% of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 are family caregivers as well, including 1 million young people who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
  • Family caregiving is serious work.  Almost half of family caregivers perform complex medical/nursing tasks for their loved ones – such as managing multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating specialized medical equipment.
  • Family caregivers are the backbone of the Nation’s long-term care system. Family caregivers provide $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year.That’s more than total Medicaid funding, and twice as much as homecare and nursing home services combined.

With the ranks of family caregivers growing every year – tens of millions strong – we recognize the importance to the Nation of the role that family caregivers play.

Steer Yourself In The Right Direction To Find The Perfect Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Purchasing or financing a wheelchair accessible vehicle takes time, money and a little bit of research. Because of the many available options when it comes to handicap vehicles, and the investment they require, knowing where to start your search is crucial and can shape the entire process. NMEDA member dealers work with individuals with disAbilities, as well as their caregivers and families, to ensure we steer you in the direction of the perfect vehicle for you. Here are a few useful tips and resources:

Go to the Pros
By going straight to a NMEDA members dealership, like ourselves, you’ll be sure that you’re getting the best possible care and attention, as well as professional service. All dealerships are required to adhere to strict quality standards under our Quality Assurance Program and, will provide you with the best solutions for your specific needs. Starting your search at a NMEDA dealer near you means you are sure you get behind the wheel of a handicap vehicle that’s right for you.

Establish Your Needs
Who will be the vehicle’s primary driver? Will you be driving from a wheelchair, transferring into the vehicle’s seat or transporting a loved one with a disability? Will you need to enter and exit the vehicle on your own or will help be nearby? Are you looking for a truck, car, minivan or a SUV? The answers to these questions can help determine what kind of adapted vehicle and equipment you need before diving into inventory listings.

Know Your Budget
We know that one of the most difficult parts of purchasing a new vehicle is making sure the cost is within your means. When it comes to finding a wheelchair accessible or adaptive vehicle, there are more options than you might realize. There are several state and government organizations in place to help get you the car you need.

Helpful Tips for Caregivers

Spending an average of 20 hours per week, more than 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, people with disAbilties or aging friend or family member each year. For these individuals, caregiving can prove to be a rewarding opportunity, however there are many challenges they must face along the way. If you provide care for a person with a disAbility, here are some important things to keep in mind in order to ensure your own well being.

Ask for and accept help when you need it. As anyone can attest to, when one thing goes awry, other things can follow. Sometimes caregiving can become an overwhelming task and your to-do list will seem infinite. If you feel the stresses of your responsibilities becoming too heavy a weight, don’t hesitate to ask others for help. There might be other family members or friends willing to take your loved one to their appointments or even prepare meals in advance for them.

Do the best you can and don’t give in to guilt. Understand that there will be situations you won’t be able to fix or undo. Focus on what you are able to provide, and push aside feelings of inadequacy.

Seek social support and get to know other people in your position. Local and online support groups can be an amazing resource for meeting other, often experienced, caregivers able to provide encouragement and advice. Maintaining social and emotional connections can significantly improve your ability to manage the stress associated with caregiving.

Be willing to learn. Organizations such as the Red Cross offer courses on caregiving and there are countless online resources designed to teach you more about the particular condition your loved one is facing. An educated approach to caregiving can benefit both you and the ones you care for.

Take care of yourself as you do your loved ones. It’s important not to put your own health and well being aside when caring for a person with a disAbility. Make sure you’re seeing your doctor as often as it is recommended and stay on top of any concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing. Make it a point to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible and consume a healthy, balanced diet.

Caregiver Fatigue Syndrome

Caregiver stress, aka Caregiver Fatigue Syndrome or Caregiver Burnout, is the byproduct of the countless responsibilities, physical demands, strained time and rollercoaster circumstances that come with the turf. And, since many caregivers consistently put others before themselves, if not addressed, this stress will only snowball.

It’s like the airplane oxygen illustration: Before you help others assemble their masks, you must first ensure you have your own. In this regard, before a caregiver can expect to offer their loved one in a wheelchair or loved one with a disability the best care, they must first take care of themselves.

Any imbalance, and the quality of care for your loved one can decrease while your personal stress and fatigue begin to climb.

Physical Symptoms
Many outsiders don’t realize what it takes to be a caregiver. Unless they’ve been in a similar situation, it’s hard to grasp the physical strain of all the lifts and pulls. Transport has been simplified with the help of mobility vehicles, but there are still the routine transitions from bed to bathroom to dinner and then back to bed. Caregiving is hard work.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have caregiver burnout:
● Decrease in overall energy
● Decrease in immunity (subject to more frequent colds/flus)
● Inconsistent sleep patterns
● Chronic back and/or joint pain
● Weight gains

Emotional Drain
In addition to the uncertainty of medical circumstances and the rollercoaster ride that your loved one may be experiencing, it’s not uncommon for a caregiver to feel alone or assume that nobody understands their situation. Activities and hobbies that once brought you joy may be sidelined to your responsibilities and the constant championing of your loved one might not leave much room for your own pursuits.

You may experience:
● Irritability and frustration
● Difficulty relaxing
● Impatience
● Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
● Dissatisfaction

Mental Exhaustion
Scheduling, logistics, medications and meals — caregivers are the gatekeepers, chauffeurs, advocates, cooks and everything in between for their loved one. There are too many moving parts to name. It’s no wonder things begin to get mentally draining.

Mental exhaustion may be exhibited through:
● Difficulty concentrating
● Feelings of confusion
● Periods of tunnel vision

No matter the symptoms, caregiver fatigue is a serious concern and you are not alone. Don’t buy into the idea that you’re the only caregiver facing these challenges.

If high-quality care for your loved one tops your list, remember that the best starts with the best you.

Steer Yourself In The Right Direction To Find The Perfect Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Purchasing or financing a wheelchair accessible vehicle takes time, money and a little bit of research. Because of the many available options when it comes to handicap vehicles, and the investment they require, knowing where to start your search is crucial and can shape the entire process. NMEDA member dealers work with individuals with disAbilities, as well as their caregivers and families, to ensure we steer you in the direction of the perfect vehicle for you. Here are a few useful tips and resources:

Go to the Pros
By going straight to a NMEDA members dealership, like ourselves, you’ll be sure that you’re getting the best possible care and attention, as well as professional service. All dealerships are required to adhere to strict quality standards under our Quality Assurance Program and, will provide you with the best solutions for your specific needs. Starting your search at a NMEDA dealer near you means you are sure you get behind the wheel of a handicap vehicle that’s right for you.

Establish Your Needs
Who will be the vehicle’s primary driver? Will you be driving from a wheelchair, transferring into the vehicle’s seat or transporting a loved one with a disability? Will you need to enter and exit the vehicle on your own or will help be nearby? Are you looking for a truck, car, minivan or a SUV? The answers to these questions can help determine what kind of adapted vehicle and equipment you need before diving into inventory listings.

Know Your Budget
We know that one of the most difficult parts of purchasing a new vehicle is making sure the cost is within your means. When it comes to finding a wheelchair accessible or adaptive vehicle, there are more options than you might realize. There are several state and government organizations in place to help get you the car you need.

A Helping Hand: Useful Apps for Caregivers

Caring for a loved one with a disability on your own (or even with the support of the rest of the family) can be a demanding job. It’s safe to say that most of us would welcome extra help. A surprising place to find some additional support is your smartphone. Apps come in all shapes and sizes, and can help lighten your load and make your everyday tasks just a little bit easier. Here are some of our favorite and most useful apps for caregivers.

CarePartners (Free)
Created by Lifeline, this free mobile app makes caregiving a team effort. Invite your family members or other loved ones to a private, secure network where you can coordinate and organize tasks, assign jobs to group members or ask for volunteers, and add your tasks to your phone’s calendars to set reminders.

CareZone (Free)
Carry your loved one’s most important information with you wherever you go. Store social security numbers, insurance information, medications (including dosages, refills, etc.) and emergency contacts with this app and be sure your information is safe with constant back ups, encrypted data and private storage that is never shared with a third-party.

PocketPharmacist (Free)
Stay in control of your loved one’s prescriptions and medications with access to extensive drug information, including overlapping side effects, precautions and costs. You can also organize prescriptions and set medication reminders with this app, as well as sync it with Walgreens to easily refill your Walgreens prescriptions.

iRelax (Free)
Melt away the day’s stress and escape to a calming oasis with the iRelax app. Listen to soothing sounds like the ocean surf, a forest night or just white noise and let your mind and body find complete relaxation. You could even enjoy these tracks with the one you’re caring for, as they make for an excellent break throughout the day.

November is Caregiver Awareness Month

November is Caregiver Awareness Month
Each year, more and more Americans are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disAbility, or the frailties of old age.  There are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today.

  • Two out of every 5 adults are family caregivers.  39% of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disAbled – up from 30% in 2010.
  • Alzheimer’s is driving the numbers up.  More than 15 million family caregivers are providing care to more than 5 million loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • But it’s not just the elderly who need caregiving.  The number of parents caring for children with special needs is increasing, too, due to the rise in cases of many childhood conditions.
  • Wounded veterans require family caregivers, too.  As many as 1 million Americans are caring in their homes for service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are suffering from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other wounds and illnesses.
  • And it’s not just women doing the caregiving.  Men are now almost as likely to say they are family caregivers as women are (37% of men; 40% of women). And 36% of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 are family caregivers as well, including 1 million young people who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
  • Family caregiving is serious work.  Almost half of family caregivers perform complex medical/nursing tasks for their loved ones – such as managing multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating specialized medical equipment.
  • Family caregivers are the backbone of the Nation’s long-term care system. Family caregivers provide $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year.That’s more than total Medicaid funding, and twice as much as homecare and nursing home services combined.

With the ranks of family caregivers growing every year – tens of millions strong – we recognize the importance to the Nation of the role that family caregivers play.

Caregiver Support

Whether you are caring for the elderly or a loved one with a disAbility, most every caregiver should surround their life with resources and relief.

These resources will not only keep you feeling refreshed and renewed, but they’ll help you connect with others, who may have, or be currently experiencing similar lifestyles. In recognizing the different support options available, you’ll find yourself actively combating the chances of caregiver burnout and achieving the best quality care possible for your loved one.

Support is within reach. You just have to know where to look.

Caregiver Support Groups
You may be surprised to learn that a quick internet search can connect you with entire communities of caregivers. Sure, there are plenty of self-help articles and tips and tricks out there, but the value of an honest forum and communal support goes miles.

Find a caregiver forum in your state or region and consider the benefits of sounding off with other members. Bounce ideas and successes off of one another. Share your wisdom and experiences. Ask questions and seek answers.

Forums:

  • provide perspective
  • highlight industry products
  • connect like-minded individuals
  • create a canvas for ongoing conversation
  • offer new tips and tricks
  • and so much more

A forum is a great foundation to replenish your optimism and hope as a caregiver. You may even turn online connections into real life friendships and accountability. And what better way to grow as a caregiver than to do it in the company and strength of a community of caregivers?

Financial Aid
Many caregivers spend upwards of 20 hours per week giving care. It’s no wonder finances and employment opportunities can sometimes be difficult to balance. Don’t count yourself out, though.

Seek education on grants and financial aid. There are many benefits for caregivers such as mobility vehicle loans and income tax return incentives. A little homework can save you money in the long run. Getting ahead on your finances can provide tremendous relief.

Fitness
Explore activities you can experience with your loved one. From adaptive sports to a traditional walk around the block, exercise is a great way to proactively deal with stress and clear the mind.

To take it one step further, consider joining a league in your area. If you’ve become a member of an online forum, ask around about local gatherings and activities or take initiative to start one on your own. The positivity and energy can be contagious for all involved.

Family and Friends
Don’t go it alone. The strongest caregivers know when it’s time to ask for help.

It’s healthy to reach out to those you trust and your family and friends can be awesome support groups. Invite them to step up and come beside you as you provide care for your loved ones and don’t be afraid to walk them through a day in your life. The more they know about your situation and your needs the better they’ll be able to assist in the journey of you and your loved one.

Managing your own stress can make the ultimate difference in the life of the loved one you care for. In caring for you, you’re caring for them.

Helpful Tips for Caregivers

Spending an average of 20 hours per week, more than 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, people with disAbilties or aging friend or family member each year. For these individuals, caregiving can prove to be a rewarding opportunity, however there are many challenges they must face along the way. If you provide care for a person with a disAbility, here are some important things to keep in mind in order to ensure your own well being.

Ask for and accept help when you need it. As anyone can attest to, when one thing goes awry, other things can follow. Sometimes caregiving can become an overwhelming task and your to-do list will seem infinite. If you feel the stresses of your responsibilities becoming too heavy a weight, don’t hesitate to ask others for help. There might be other family members or friends willing to take your loved one to their appointments or even prepare meals in advance for them.

Do the best you can and don’t give in to guilt. Understand that there will be situations you won’t be able to fix or undo. Focus on what you are able to provide, and push aside feelings of inadequacy.

Seek social support and get to know other people in your position. Local and online support groups can be an amazing resource for meeting other, often experienced, caregivers able to provide encouragement and advice. Maintaining social and emotional connections can significantly improve your ability to manage the stress associated with caregiving.

Be willing to learn. Organizations such as the Red Cross offer courses on caregiving and there are countless online resources designed to teach you more about the particular condition your loved one is facing. An educated approach to caregiving can benefit both you and the ones you care for.

Take care of yourself as you do your loved ones. It’s important not to put your own health and well being aside when caring for a person with a disAbility. Make sure you’re seeing your doctor as often as it is recommended and stay on top of any concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing. Make it a point to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible and consume a healthy, balanced diet.

Caregiver Fatigue Syndrome

Caregiver Fatigue Syndrome

Caregivers walk a very delicate line. They are some of the strongest, most selfless individuals around — doing most anything and everything for their loved ones — but many are exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed trying to balance the rewarding process.

Caregiver stress, aka Caregiver Fatigue Syndrome or Caregiver Burnout, is the byproduct of the countless responsibilities, physical demands, strained time and rollercoaster circumstances that come with the turf. And, since many caregivers consistently put others before themselves, if not addressed, this stress will only snowball.

It’s like the airplane oxygen illustration: Before you help others assemble their masks, you must first ensure you have your own. In this regard, before a caregiver can expect to offer their loved one in a wheelchair or loved one with a disability the best care, they must first take care of themselves.

Any imbalance, and the quality of care for your loved one can decrease while your personal stress and fatigue begin to climb.

Physical Symptoms
Many outsiders don’t realize what it takes to be a caregiver. Unless they’ve been in a similar situation, it’s hard to grasp the physical strain of all the lifts and pulls. Transport has been simplified with the help of mobility vehicles, but there are still the routine transitions from bed to bathroom to dinner and then back to bed. Caregiving is hard work.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have caregiver burnout:
● Decrease in overall energy
● Decrease in immunity (subject to more frequent colds/flus)
● Inconsistent sleep patterns
● Chronic back and/or joint pain
● Weight gains

Emotional Drain
In addition to the uncertainty of medical circumstances and the rollercoaster ride that your loved one may be experiencing, it’s not uncommon for a caregiver to feel alone or assume that nobody understands their situation. Activities and hobbies that once brought you joy may be sidelined to your responsibilities and the constant championing of your loved one might not leave much room for your own pursuits.

You may experience:
● Irritability and frustration
● Difficulty relaxing
● Impatience
● Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
● Dissatisfaction

Mental Exhaustion
Scheduling, logistics, medications and meals — caregivers are the gatekeepers, chauffeurs, advocates, cooks and everything in between for their loved one. There are too many moving parts to name. It’s no wonder things begin to get mentally draining.

Mental exhaustion may be exhibited through:
● Difficulty concentrating
● Feelings of confusion
● Periods of tunnel vision

No matter the symptoms, caregiver fatigue is a serious concern and you are not alone. Don’t buy into the idea that you’re the only caregiver facing these challenges.

If high-quality care for your loved one tops your list, remember that the best starts with the best you.