Few roles in life can be more demanding and stressful than long-term caregiving. In addition to caring for aging and ill loved ones, caregivers somehow have to find time for themselves. Even normal, everyday tasks like working, shopping or spending time with friends or other family members can feel impossible or overwhelming. But being a caregiver doesn’t mean your life is over; you might just need a little help. If you are one of the millions of Americans who provide long-term care for a loved one, here are some resources to help you find the support you need.
Where to begin
For some people, caregiving is a gradual process that starts with doing small tasks, such as grocery shopping for your mother or shoveling a snowy sidewalk for an aging relative. Others have caregiving responsibilities thrust upon them after a traumatic health event such as a heart attack, stroke or other sudden illness leaves a loved one unable to care for themselves. If you’ve recently found yourself in a caregiving role and are feeling overwhelmed, caregiver.org provides some assistance on where to begin. You can get help finding healthcare assistance, learning specific skills, handling finances and legal paperwork and other common tasks that fall to caregivers.
Where to go for respite care
Throughout the caregiving process, it’s important to remember to care for yourself. Because long-term care can be particularly taxing, it’s often necessary to take a break and recharge your batteries. Through respite care resources, caregivers may be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities while qualified personnel take over caring for loved ones for a short time. The Arizona Caregiver Coalition offers several links for further information on available respite resources in your area. Remember, taking time for yourself is not selfish. Attending to your needs ensures you will be better equipped to help those around you.
Who to call in stressful times
Stress is inevitable in a long-term care situation, and on a difficult day, it might help to know who to call. A good place to start would be the Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services that provides a caregiver resource line to call when you need assistance. The Arizona Department of Economic Security also lists several resources tailored to specific caregiver needs, including where to go to report abuse, how to find support from local agencies and answers to frequently asked questions.
Local support groups
When you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed or easily upset, it can be extremely beneficial to speak with others who understand exactly what you’re going through. Joining a support group — whether through an online forum or meeting in person with other caregivers — is a great way to get the help and encouragement you need. Support groups often specialize in different areas. Whether you’re caring for a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, stroke or some other ailment, there’s a support group for you. Depending on your specific needs and where you live, the Arizona Caregiver Coalition makes it easy for you to find a support group in your area with its searchable database.
End of life planning
Despite the stresses and difficulty involved, perhaps the hardest part about caregiving is the fact that eventually, it will come to an end. If your loved one’s journey is nearing his or her end, let Science Care be there to help you plan for the future. For more information, call or visit online today.
Science Care was founded in 2000 with the vision to become the world’s leading whole body donation program. Science Care was the first non-transplant organization to earn accreditation by the American Association of Tissue Banks. We’ve helped facilitate the training of thousands of surgeons and physicians at our medical training facilities. We’re headquartered in Arizona, with additional facilities in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Want to learn more about how you can make a difference with whole body donation? Join the Science Care donor registry today and help make a difference for tomorrow.