January 3, 2013

Letter: Information and support can help caregivers recharge

I worry about caregivers who have little time for themselves. I think of caregivers as unsung heroes, who are often caring for an aging parent or a disabled adult child and a grandchild at the same time, and always looking a little rushed, but successfully meeting the needs of their loved ones.

I know many caregivers who have been caregiving back-to-back family members for years and rarely stop to think what they’re doing is extraordinary. What they are doing does not seem like a burden to them, it seems normal.  

But one thing that caregivers often forget about is their own health. And time can take its toll on missed doctors’ appointments, skipped vacations or maybe giving up a regular social or church group because there is no time. Studies have proven that caregivers’ health is a great concern.

There are many different programs to help the caregiver if a caregiver has the time to look. That is just it, there is little time for a caregiver to sit down and make calls or search the Internet for help. I want caregivers to know that there is help available — really good help. Each family situation is different, and one program works for one family but not for another. Taking that first step to seek information about different helping programs can feel overwhelming.  

After 20 years of helping caregivers, I feel the best way is for a caregiver to attend a local caregiver support group. By attending a support group, caregivers will learn from other caregivers what works and what doesn’t. It is that simple. Ask the experts … other caregivers taking the same journey.

A wonderful and caring caregiver support group meets at RossWoods Adult Day Services on the last Tuesday of each month at noon. A lunch is provided for the caregiver and free respite and lunch is provided for the caregiver’s loved one, if needed. A phone call to RossWoods will reserve a space for their loved one. This is a starting point for caregivers who want to learn more in a supportive environment.


Laurie Parker

RossWoods Adult Day Services Community Outreach


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