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Caregivers need the support of their family, friends and community.
More than 25 million people are currently providing caregiving assistance to elderly and disabled loved ones. This assistance can range from making meals and managing finances to providing nursing care to a person who is bedridden. Too often, in meeting the everyday needs of the care recipient, caregivers don't leave enough time to take care of themselves.
Being a caregiver takes courage, patience, persistence and the support of family, friends and the community. If you are a caregiver, remember to take care of yourself. Here are some solutions for caregivers to help prevent burnout.
Get Help With Meals
Nutrition is an issue that continually arises when taking care of a family member or friend. Meals on Wheels (1-800-573-6467) delivers low-cost hot lunches and cold suppers seven days a week. This service not only offers nourishment but also adds social interaction to those who may be living alone. Senior nutrition sites also serve low-cost lunch at local senior centers. Caregivers may choose this nonthreatening avenue to encourage care recipients to become involved in outside activities. For someone who has difficulty shopping for groceries, agencies and businesses exist that will shop for them for a reasonable fee. Contact Aging & Independence Services at 1-800-510-2020 for more information.
Make Free Time
Free time for caregivers is cherished and rare. Caregivers can use adult day care centers or homemakers to help alleviate the burden of caring for someone around the clock. Adult day care centers offer care recipients therapeutic social interaction, and health services if needed. Contact San Diego County's Aging & Independence Services at 1-800-510-2020 for a list of adult and social day care centers.
Another option is hiring a homemaker to help with housekeeping chores and serve as a companion for care recipients. Check the Yellow Pages under "Home Health Services" for agencies that can provide homemakers.
Instead of doing everything to the point of breaking down physically or emotionally, caregivers need to search out and accept assistance from others, including family, friends and health agencies. One of the most effective ways caregivers can take care of themselves is by joining a support group, where they can trade ideas, exchange resource information and discuss solutions to handling difficult situations.
Several local agencies can provide information on services available to help with the caregiving burden:
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's senior health services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about senior health, read the Senior Health News archive.