What's the best way to connect family caregivers? If I were asking myself that question, I'd say the internet. Most family caregivers work eight-to-late as my one friend put it, and I agree. Of course there may be days when you have free time, but that depends on the level of disability of your loved one.
For me, Cir is able to still do many things on his own, but leaving for any length of time is mostly out of the question. For the most part, I am there with him all day everyday, except when I run errands and occasionally a coffee date at the cafe down the street. I try not to venture too far in case I need to get back home quickly.
So far that hasn't happened yet. I can usually get done what I need to get done in a few hours and get back home. Many times I will wait to leave when I know someone will be there, either my daughter or the nurses aide. And I'm usually home before she leaves, or shortly after.
When I'm gone, I'm always worrying about whether or not he will fall and not be able to get to the phone. He's still very strong in his upper body, so I don't doubt that he would be able to get himself up. If he were to fall the wrong way, hit his head, or twist his back is what worries me. When he took martial arts years ago, he learned how to fall correctly and most times he takes the time to plan his moves so that he doesn't make a misstep.
Unfortunately, there's always the chance of an accident happening.I'm sure most family caregivers feel the same way when they need to leave their loved one. Connecting with other family caregivers, at least away from home is not high on the priority list. I have found a of group and a website, however, where caregivers can talk freely online about the things they are going through.
Caregivers can ask questions or answer questions from other caregivers. They can share tips and pointers about what has worked for them. They can vent or offer support to others who are going through the same things. One of these is a Facebook group called Well Spouse**. It's mainly for spouse caregivers and you have to be accepted into the group when you sign up to join. So far, I'm not very active, but enjoy reading some of the posts.
Another website, is www.Caregiver.com**. They offer a magazine – Today's Caregiver - that is For, About, and By Caregivers. They also have a weekly online newsletter, that features interviews, tips from fellow caregivers, support resources, and the like. In fact, here is one where the editor, Gary Barg, interviews Montel Williams**, about the challenges caregivers face.
So there you have it, a few ways to connect family caregivers, and caregivers in general. One of the things that Montel Williams mentions in his interview, is that caregivers need to take care of themselves. By neglecting to do this, you as a caregiver won't be able to do your job as well as you should.
"...if you don't take care of yourself, you won't do any good for anybody because the person you're taking care of won't be able to absorb your humanity or your spirit if you're depressed, if you yourself are tired, if you aren't paying attention to your own personal health."There may come a moment when you have to tell your friend that I love you, but I need a little break, and I bet you could use a little break from me too, so let me take one and I'll see you in a few hours or in a few days. Take a break, rather than let it fester and damage your relationship."Montel Williams interview with David Barg; Editor-in-chief at Caregiver.com**NOTE: Each of the links above will open a new window.
Do you know of a family caregiver support group or resource?
Please share it here. Whether it's a support group in your area or online we'd love to include it. If it's a resource that will make a caregivers life a little easier so that he or she can be better at what they do, we appreciate you sharing it with our visitors. Thank you.