These numbers illustrate the ubiquity and importance of caregiving. It is a phase of life nearly everyone goes through. Knowing this, it is surprising how few education and training resources are available to help family caregivers prepare for and excel in their role.
There are no caregiving classes in high school, despite the relevance of the information given that the parents of many high school students are in the sandwich generation and are caring for their own aging parents.
Local community colleges offer a variety of enriching continuing education opportunities — photography, dancing, web design — but seldom will you find a class about caregiving.
What are family caregivers to do?
Know What You’re Looking For
Helpful resources for caregivers fall into three categories:
- Information about their loved one’s condition
- Practical information about how to provide care
- Information about self-care
Information About Your Loved One’s Condition
Information about your loved one’s condition will help you know what to expect in your caregiving role. It allows you to set realistic expectations for what your loved one can and should be doing. It also allows you to plan for caregiving needs that might be developing soon.
Practical Information About How to Provide Care
Information about the practical how-to’s of caregiving will help you keep your loved one safe and physically and mentally stimulated. It can also help you from injuring yourself.
Information About Self-care
Information about self-care is all about how to meet your own needs. Caregiving can be very rewarding, but it is also stressful. Chronic stress can harm your health and make your caregiving less effective.
Finding these resources might not be easy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Here are 11 helpful places to look.
11 Resources Caregivers Should Know About
Caregivers can find support for their own needs, tips to improve their caregiving, and knowledge about their loved one’s condition — if they know where to look. Here are 11 helpful places to start.
Read the list below and download the list here.
Covers practical caregiving, including home safety, legal tips, and self-care, including finding balance in your own life
- ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center
Provides resources about where to find people who can give you a break from caregiving and the information you need to not feel guilty about it
- Caregiver Action Network
Contains a trove of practical information for caregivers of all experience levels and situations
- Eldercare Locator
A clearinghouse site, searchable by location or topical filter. Provides contact information for local, state, and federal agencies that serve caregivers and the elderly
- Family Caregiver Alliance
Offers specific information about many of the common medical conditions that require caregiving and also contains practical caregiving tips
- Lotsa Helping Hands
Provides a web-based communication platform where family, friends, and neighbors can share information and create a group calendar
- National Alliance for CaregivingIncludes practical caregiving tips as well as information about caregiving advocacy and research
- National Institute on Aging
Gives a wealth of high-quality information about aging and dementia (gov is an NIA site), with a focus on clinical research, as well as tips on practical caregiving and self-care
Thoroughly covers how to choose and pay for long-term care
- Veterans Administration
Offers a caregiver-support telephone line and peer-mentoring support groups as well as resources for the person being cared for and information about common conditions requiring caregiving
- Well Spouse Association
Provides peer support for the “well spouse” through local support groups and telephone support groups
If you’re interested in learning more about caregiving and how you can improve as a caregiver, please download our free eBook “Solutions to Common Caregiving Challenges”.