The Value of Caregiving Resources to Home
Care Givers

By M. Chris Wolf, PH.D.

Caregiving resources are vital for home care givers. Taking care of an elderly parent can be a very rewarding experience; after all, it is a chance to repay some for the love and care they gave you when you were young. Knowing that mom or dad is safe with you and receiving care from loving family members who have only their best interests in mind is the most satisfying part of being a care giver.

But it isn't all fun and frolics when you give up much of your time and energy to care for a senior; any care giver will tell you it can also be very difficult, financially, physically, and emotionally. It is common for care givers to feel isolated, depressed, resentful, exhausted, and even guilty for having these feelings in the first place. Pride may make some adult children struggle on, refusing offers of help or not considering caregiving resources, until they are forced to accept help because their own health is suffering.

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Caregiving services exist to help people who have taken on the care of an elderly relative, and caregivers should be aware of these. Check with the health department to see what help is available, whether it is financial assistance with medical costs or physical aids to help your parent with mobility around the home. See what respite care is available - having some time off to rest and relax could make a huge difference in the quality of the care you give your parent. Local caregiving resources may include a daycare center where mom or dad can go to socialize with other seniors, perhaps have a meal or even outings - giving you free time to rest, spend time with the kids, or get chores done. This will give your parent a break, as well as you, and he or she might genuinely enjoy getting the chance to have a change of scenery.

If other friends or family members offer to help out, don't be too proud to accept that help. They may feel good about giving up an afternoon so you can get your hair done, and you will feel better and less stressed.

Look in the yellow pages or on the internet to find organizations which exist to offer help and other caregiving resources. Evenself-help groups are valuable to the home caregiver. The knowledge that you are not the only person from your neighborhood in this situation will make it easier, and local members can offer vital moral and practical support to one another.

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