The cost of caregiver stress can result in endless emotional distress and increased health problems. Like most caregivers I know and meet every day, they have no rest and no time for themselves.
The best way to caregive is to use all the resources and support you can get. But how do you find them, is the question.
I had the pleasure of listening in on a webinar last week on Preventing Decline in Health of Family Caregivers. Dr. Steven Zarit completed a study called DASH (Daily Stress and Health Study). The goal of the study was to understand the stress of caregivers and how Adult Day Health, being a planned predictable break could address the central problem in caregiving, which is too little time and too much stress. In their findings, Dr. Zarit mentioned caregiver stress had some of the same patterns as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). Although in caregiving, the symptoms of stress often get ignored.
So what could be a planned, predictable break for you? Whether it’s Adult Day Health, Home Care, Short Stay Residential care or any other similar approach, the study was able to gain an understanding of the benefits for both the caregiver and the care receiver. Outside care options are often hard decisions but the results can make you a happier caregiver and provide you time to replenish what you need to provide the best care.
As caregiving continues to rise, most caregivers are surfing the web for resources and tools to help which is a good start. But getting plugged in can lead you to some hidden gems in your own backyard. As Georgia residents, we are grateful to have the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, founded by the Former First Lady. They provide programs, research, training, and resources for caregivers and professionals in the community. One being, Dealing with Dementia Workshop, this is a free workshop that will provide you a guide on strategies and best practices in caregiving. A class will be held, October 1st from 9am – 12pm at Faith Community Church in Grayson, GA.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is another program guided by trained individuals in your community to provide a 6-week curriculum that empower the caregiver to face challenges and be held accountable for taking care of themselves. A class will start, October 11th from 3:30pm – 5pm at SarahCare of Snellville. Caregiver Support Groups are located throughout our surrounding areas and can be found on Disease Specific Association websites. These groups help you build relationships and remind you that you are not alone. But also utilize your local businesses that provide senior care. Our philosophy at SarahCare of Snellville is to guide caregivers to much needed resources, whether that is utilizing adult day health or not. So don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Links to the above resources:
Dr. Steven Zarit - http://hhd.psu.edu/hdfs/research/projects/daily-stress-health-study
Rosalynn Carter Institute - http://www.rosalynncarter.org
Powerful Tools for Caregivers - http://www.powerfultoolsforcaregivers.org
For information on the classes mentioned, please call SarahCare of Snellville at 770-685-6971.
Aysha Cooper is the owner of SarahCare of Snellville. She has a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and an MBA from UGA. She stays connected to her community as an Alumni of GNLI and currently serving on the board of Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services. You can reach Aysha Cooper by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling SarahCare in Snellville at 770-685-6971. 1567 Janmar Road, Snellville, Suite 200, GA 30078