It’s no secret that caregiving is an emotionally and physically demanding (and draining!) job. As a caregiver, your main concern is usually the wellbeing of your patients, but you also need to take some time to assess your own wellbeing.
Establishing a caregiver support network can help to set you up for success as a caregiver. Your support network is a group of people you can turn to for advice, help, and a listening ear when you need it. This network won’t be the same for every caregiver, so it’s partially up to you to determine the types of people who should be in your network. Basically, you want to find a great group of people who have the knowledge, experience, and availability to provide you with support when you need it.
Potential People to Include in Your Caregiver Support Network
When it comes to creating your caregiver support network, you’ll want to add a number of different people who have particular experiences and expertise. Many support networks include some or all of the following people.
Local Caregiver Support Groups
Look for local groups designed to support caregivers. Check in at local senior centers, doctor’s offices, and recreation facilities to see if they can recommend local groups you can turn to for support. Some groups have regular meetings, and many can help you to deal with the emotional challenges of caregiving.
You can also find support groups online.
When you’re caring for a loved one, their doctors will need to be a part of your support network. Doctors are an important resource in discussing a senior’s needs, their changing condition, and how best to provide care. A senior’s doctors can give you advice on some of the challenges that you face, and may be able to make recommendations for equipment or even housing setups that can make your job easier and safer.
Friends and Family
Your friends and family are valuable members of any caregiver’s support network. Friends and family can support you in a number of ways, from filling in from time to time to give you some time off, to providing emotional support.
Your local church or religious group is another valuable addition to your network. Churches often offer support and help to their members in need, and whether you need some help with Mom and Dad on a particular day or could just use some positive thoughts and prayers, your church may be the place the go for this kind of support.
Don’t forget to turn to professional caregivers, too. If you’re a professional, then talking with other professional caregivers can be a wonderful way to talk about the frustrations and challenges that come with caregiving.
If you’re caring for your parent, professional caregivers can provide another type of assistance. Consider hiring a professional caregiver to lighten some of the caregiving load. A professional may be able to provide you with some advice and tips that can make your caregiving tasks easier.
There are countless organizations in existence today that work to support and help caregivers. These organizations, like the Caregiver Action Network and the American Association of Caregiving Youth, can be powerful additions to your support network. Many of these organizations offer resources, help, and advice for caregivers. The American Society on Aging offers a comprehensive list of these organizations for caregivers.
It’s never too early to start building your caregiver support network. This network can be a valuable resource when you have questions, challenges, or just need some emotional support. Caregiving is a demanding job, and the members of your network can help to make it just a little bit easier.
Lindsay Engle is the Marketing Specialist at MedicareFAQ, a learning resource center for Medicare beneficiaries. Lindsay loves working in the senior healthcare industry. Aside from her job, she has a great passion for animals and loves boating. In her spare time, she enjoys snuggling on the couch with her pets as well as fishing with her boyfriend.