Caring for the Caregiver: November is National Caregivers Month

By Bridget Larkin on November 30, 2017

National Family Caregivers Month has taken place every November since President Bill Clinton signed the first Presidential Proclamation in 1997. Its purpose is to honor and recognize family caregivers, as well as raise awareness about issues affecting this population. The theme of the month this year is “Caregiving Around the Clock” because caring for a family member can be a 24-7 job.

At Meadowlark, there are many individuals caring for loved ones with memory loss, Parkinson’s, and other chronic conditions. Being a family caregiver can be a stressful and isolating experience, so it is important for family caregivers to take time for themselves and focus on their own health needs. The Caregiver Action Network lists the following tips for family caregivers:

  • Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
  • Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  • Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  • Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  • Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  • Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it.
  • Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  • Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
  • Make sure legal documents are in order.
  • Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

The Meadowlark Memory Program and Parkinson’s Program offer support groups for family caregivers. Support groups provide caregivers the opportunity to network, learn about resources, and provide support for one another. Memory Care Partner Support Group meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Tranquility Room. Registration is not required, and the group is open to residents and community members.  

Parkinson’s Care Partner Support group meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Living Room.

To learn more about National Family Caregiver Month, visit http://caregiveraction.org/national-family-caregivers-month.