Family caregivers reminded to take care of themselves
Monday, November 13, 2023
November is National Family Caregivers Month and a few tips can help people with these duties.
Executive Director of the Oregon organization Aging Concerns, Vicki Schmall, said family caregivers often are called the backbone of long-term care.
But she said people performing these roles must remember to think about themselves as well.
"I often say to family caregivers," said Schmall, "taking care of yourself is really the best gift you can give to the person who needs your care."
Schmall said its critical that they be willing to ask for and accept help. She said there are local supports available for caregivers through programs such as Oregon Care Partners and the state's Aging and Disability Resource Connection.
Schmall said people also should do their research early about potential facilities in the event in-home care becomes too much. She pointed to the service Eldercare Locator as a helpful resource in this search.
"What is most important about decision making," said Schmall, "is making decisions based on what is best and not on promises I made earlier or feelings of guilt, and also not on pressures from others."
Schmall emphasized that caregivers need to pay attention to how they're doing.
"If as a caregiver you find yourself becoming socially isolated, it's a warning sign," said Schmall. "It says the importance of making some change because social isolation is not good for either the family caregiver or the person receiving care."
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