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A Doctor's Take on What Caregivers Need Most

Dr. Arthur Kleinman's memoir takes a close look at what's missing in most family caregiver's lives. The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor is the doctor's look at his experience as his wife's caregiver. While he is a psychiatrist, all of his medical training and time spent with patients didn't prepare him for his experience as a family caregiver.

As of 2015, there were more than 40 million unpaid caregivers providing care to someone 65 or older. Of those caregivers, 90 percent of them were caring for an immediate relative. The most common situation is an adult child helping an aging parent. Grandparents come second on that list.

Like many family caregivers, Dr. Kleinman experienced the highs and lows that come with dementia. His wife had Alzheimer's and would forget who he was. One of his first accounts is a day she woke from a nap, had no idea who he was, and started hitting him. Like many family caregivers, he had to learn how to handle new situations on the fly. Here are some of the things he feels caregivers need most.

Reassurance That You Will Fail Sometimes

When you're a family caregiver, you'll have good and bad days. Some days, your mom or dad will cooperate and make your day go smoothly. On other days, your parent may be agitated, scared, or angry and take it out on you.

If you don't get every task done, you can't feel like a failure. You tried and that's what matters. Learn to accept those days and move on from them knowing there will be highs and lows.

The Confidence to Ask for Help

Family caregivers often try to handle everything on their own. They can't. Caregiving is exhausting. It's important to ask for help when you need it. If someone tells you you need help, listen to them and accept help.

Consider home care providers when you realize you are in need of help. Home care providers allow you to take the breaks you need so that you can avoid burnout.

An elder care agency sends a caregiver to your parent's home as often as you need. If you don't want to go out, you should still look into having a caregiver help with household chores, personal care, and grooming. Those elder care services free up some time for you to focus on your own needs.

Sources:

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/18/5-facts-about-family-caregivers/

If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Ellenton, FL, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Bradenton today at (941) 499-5946.

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