Senior Living - Rocky Mountain Region Resources and Services
by Johanna Karr, WSA
For those who have someone with chronic illness and/or disability in their family, the current economic climate can seem overwhelming. As November is National Caregiver's Month, The Well Spouse Association would like caregivers to remember three things they can do to cope during these difficult times. These three things are keeping track of their finances, accepting help when it's offered, and taking care of themselves.
So says Richard Anderson, a former spousal caregiver himself, and President of The Well Spouse Association, a national, nonprofit, volunteer based organization focused on providing emotional support to husbands, wives and partners caring for spouses with chronic illnesses and/or long term disabilities.
Keeping track of finances is a must. Caregivers should know where their money is going. This can be done by using PC software programs, free Internet sites like www.mint.com or by just keeping a notebook to write down where the money is spent. Such information can help caregivers budget their funds, record such items as medical expenses (important at tax time!), and plan for future purchases.
Accepting help when it's offered is another point Mr. Anderson would like to make. Take friends and neighbors up when they offer assistance. Think of a few things that could be done by someone else, like raking the leaves, or cooking dinner. If you aren't comfortable with receiving help, designate a family member or close friend to be your contact. The contact can be the go-between, which will allow you to focus on the caregiving. And here again, a free internet program like www.lotsahelpinghands.com can help.
Lastly, many studies have shown that depression has a negative impact on one™s health. This is something we see affecting caregivers every day. Making themselves a priority is something caregivers have a tough time doing. However, if a caregiver doesn't take care of him/herself, they can burn out very quickly, making a difficult situation even worse. Be sure you visit your doctors, and take care of your own physical and mental health. Relieve stress by talking to a friend, taking a short nap or going for a brisk walk. Take time for yourself and join a support group, to meet others who are in your shoes. Sharing a situation with others who truly understand can be the biggest relief of all.
Doing these three things will help caregivers handle their challenging situations. You are not alone is the WSA motto. says Mr. Anderson. We want all caregivers to know that.
For additional information on spousal caregiving, call the Well Spouse Association at 1-800-838-0879, or visit the website at www.wellspouse.org.