Having been a caregiver for my seriously ill mother and father in their later years, I know first-hand how truly gratifying it is to provide this kind of care. However, I also know how hard it can be.
If you are among the more than 43 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers for older friends or family members, you know how much time and effort this kind of care requires. Caregiving for an older adult can involve so many things—from helping them get in and out of bed, dress, navigate stairs, eat, bathe and use the toilet, to providing transportation, getting groceries, preparing meals, managing finances, and giving medications. Along with all of these everyday tasks, caregivers also need to figure out how to work with healthcare providers and government agencies to ensure their loved ones get the medical care they need and the health benefits to which they’re entitled. All with no compensation, except the satisfaction of helping an older family member, friend or neighbor.
Not surprisingly, caregivers need help and support too.
One of the missions of the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging is to provide health information to older adults and those who care for them. The Foundation has a portfolio of resources on Health in Aging that we hope will be helpful to caregivers. Resources such as Caregiving How To’s, Tip Sheets, and information on managing specific health problems that are unique to older adults.
While providing information is important, it is also important to learn from one another, through shared stories, experiences, and feedback. Please feel free to leave us a comment below and share your caregiving experiences. Or let us know what you found most helpful on our website, or what you wish you had more help, advice, or support with.
Together we can work to provide the older adults we care about with the best care we can.