Family Caregiving...It's Not All Up to You

Family Caregiving...It's Not All Up to You

(NAPSI)- One out of five adults finds him or herself as the designated caregiver for a loved one who can't manage alone. In an era when extended families are supposed to be getting weaker, more families are moving their aged relatives into their homes to care for them. Concerns over nursing home placement coupled with the soaring costs for long-term care are contributing to the trend. It is not unusual for family caregivers to take on more than they can realistically handle and many have feelings of guilt if they ask for help. Yet, asking for help is often the best thing they can do for their loved one.
If you manage or provide direct assistance to someone who needs help with day-to-day activities because of a chronic condition, cognitive limitations or aging...you are a family caregiver.
Acknowledging your role, being open to solutions and understanding that seeking help is in the best interest of everyone, are important steps toward re-establishing a quality of life for all.
You are a family caregiver if you provide Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as helping your care recipient with getting in and out of the bed and chairs, dressing, getting to and from the toilet, bathing, dealing with incontinence or diapers, and feeding.
You are also a family caregiver if you provide Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) such as providing transportation, housework, grocery shopping, preparing meals, arranging for outside services, managing finances and giving medications.
Recognizing the "symptoms" of burnout, anticipating needs and getting assistance can help families adapt and enjoy the personal rewards of family caregiving. Signs that may indicate a need for help include an escalation in job-family conflicts, family caregiver exhaustion and stress, the disruption of family relationships, prolonged feelings of sadness, and loss of sleep.
The National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving can provide new ideas and resources that can help you get help, feel better and do better. Visit www.familycaregiving101.org a non-profit Web site made possible by the generosity of Eisai Inc.
When caring for a loved one, trying your hardest and doing your best may be two different things.