Recognizing The Changing Role of Today’s Caregiver
Focused for the past 40 years on keeping older individuals and those with disabilities living life at home on their own terms in the communities of their choice, Connecticut Community Care affirms its support of those who give of themselves to care for others. With a population of 3.6 million, there are 459,000 caregivers in Connecticut providing 427 million care hours, worth $5,930,000 (AARP Public Policy Institute).
“Caregivers are always giving,” says Molly Rees Gavin, president of Connecticut Community Care. “It’s time we think about giving back. After 40 years of providing care management services, we recognize that the face of caregiving is rapidly changing as society demands more from all of us. There is no longer a ‘typical’ caregiver. They come in all variations and circumstances. As we pay closer attention to caregivers and their needs, we are collectively in a better place to truly help their loved ones. One important use of our Independent Living Fund is to help provide needed respite to caregivers of those we serve who have no option for relief.”
From a granddaughter helping her grandmother weed the garden to the working mother helping her adult son after a debilitating accident or the husband struggling to keep his wife active despite the onset of early Alzheimer’s, caregiving is well-known as a full-time job and more. In 2015, 177,000 people in Connecticut cared for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, providing 202 million hours of unpaid care valued at $2.5 million (Alzheimer’s Association Report).
Everyday Tips to Ease Caregiver Stress
- Hold regular family meetings. Gather siblings and other key relatives to develop a care plan, identifying each family member’s role.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and other family members if you are the primary care provider. Consider providing them with a few items from your list of things to do.
- Shop smarter. Avoid crowded malls and instead opt for online shopping or much-appreciated gift cards for birthdays and special occassions.
- As a caregiver, don’t forget to put your physical needs first: eat nutritious meals, make time for exercise and napping during the day.
- Connect with friends as isolation increases stress. Welcome every possible opportunity to see people, even for just an hour or two.
- Take a needed break. Try asking a friend or neighbor to volunteer to care for your loved one for a day or weekend.
- Stay positive. Do your best to avoid negativity and focus on the good you are doing for your loved one.
- Call on community resources to supplement your caregiving.
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