Where Can Caregivers Go for Support?
Many hospice programs offer caregiver support groups to families and friends whose loved ones are facing life-limiting and advanced illnesses. These groups provide an opportunity to take a break and meet with other caregivers, to share information and to offer encouragement. These groups meet in-person, online and through teleconferences and are often offered alongside core hospice services. There are often disease specific caregiver support groups, such as support groups for Alzheimer’s or cancer, though general caregiver support resources exist as well.
The demands and stress of providing care for a family member at the end of life can be daunting – even overwhelming. A strong supportive-care network can help caregivers discover moments of mindfulness to breathe, recharge and refocus attention to self-care, and to take a pause from the responsibilities of being a family caregiver.
Helpguide.org has useful tips and reminders to manage and prevent caregiver stress and burnout.
The Next Step in Care website offers family caregivers a number of resources for understanding and supporting a loved one’s medical issues. Their guides include: Advance Directives, Hospice and Palliative Care, and The First Step In Care: Becoming a Family Caregiver. Their guide on family involvement in doctors’ visits is particularly helpful to family members who need information from medical professionals in order to best help their relatives determine their next steps in care. The guides are available in English, Russian, Spanish and Chinese.
On March 5, 2014 The Washington Post published “Caregiving: A Special Report,” with articles, videos and resources about the special force of silent heroes caring for America’s aging population. A must read for anyone who is/will/has cared for an older loved one.