In honor of National Family Caregiver month this November, Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) has gathered advice from top care team members across the country about how family caregivers can best provide for an aging parent or loved one. According to the AARP, nearly one in three adults in the U.S. is providing care for a family member, friend or neighbor. Financially, family caregivers spend an average of $5,531 each year on their responsibilities, while the median household income is $43,026, reports the National Alliance for Caregiving. “Considering the incredible lengths family caregivers go to—both financial and in terms of their own well-being, it’s important they not only provide the best care but take care of themselves at the same time,” said Dr. Michael Fleming of Amedisys. “By offering tips to family caregivers across the country, we hope to both honor what they do daily as well as give them support. Being a family caregiver is no easy task and on top of it all we don’t want them to feel alone.” Based on decades of experience, Amedisys care team members recommend:
- Staying organized. To keep from getting overwhelmed, maintain detailed lists and instructions for administering medications, dressing wounds and working medical equipment. Ask a health care professional to demonstrate tasks for you and work with you to make sure the care is being provided correctly.
- Preparing for changes. Many patients with a diagnosis like dementia or Alzheimer’s can become angry, agitated or sometimes violent. Work with professionals on what to expect.
- Taking your time. One occupational therapist explains that rushing a patient through an activity could take away their sense of independence, causing the patient to become depressed and possibly cause an injury.
- Taking a break, or arranging for support. “You may develop feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness because of the constant responsibilities, deprivation and isolation that can result from being a caregiver,” said an Amedisys vocational nurse. “Research community agency help- take days to yourself as you hire adult day care, chore workers, home delivered meals, etc. to help relieve the physical stress.”
- Knowing that you are not alone. Contact your county to find out what services are available such as a Department of Aging, the Veterans Benefits Administration or other aging services.