Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Five For Family Caregivers

The Friday Five is our weekly roundup of links to smart articles and helpful resources across the Web.

1. Caregiving for an aging or ill loved one isn't something we all instinctively know how to do the first time we do it. For most of us, it's not something we train for. But, your mom and dad are getting older, and you can see them relying on you more often (even if they won't admit it.) You're worrying more, and you're calling more, and slowly but surely, you're headed down the path of family caregiver. Within the AARP Caregiver Resource Center, you'll find their Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families. It's a downloadable pdf guide that outlines five steps to help you begin the caregiving journey.

2. Caregivers are often told to take care of themselves, but many are overwhelmed with responsibility and can't find the time to focus on themselves. While we do encourage family caregivers to utilize other family members, close friends, neighbors, or other members of your loved one's community, we know some days that's easier said than done. On those days, think about employing one of these five-minutes de-stressers for family caregivers.

3. Speaking of taking care of yourself, you also need to be able to recognize when you're burnt out. When we disregard our own needs in sacrifice for others, we run the risk of caregiver burnout. Are you asking yourself how you're doing today and answering honestly? Check in with yourself right now, and then do it on a regular basis. As you're doing that, keep these six signs of caregiver burnout in mind.

4. It's good to have a friend around when you're dealing with caregiving issues. It might be even better to have a lot of friends around who have been caregivers, too. Support groups offer individuals an outlet to share feelings and ask for advice from other individuals who are going through the same thing. Because caregivers have little time on their hands, online support groups can be especially helpful with their ongoing conversations and 24-hour accessibility. Sites like Caregiving.com can connect you with other caregivers like yourself so you can find support for you and offer support to others.

5. Most family caregivers will spend years providing care to an aging, chronically ill relative. "The average duration of a caregiver's role is 4.6 years," according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. That's a long time to live one's life in a specific role. It's okay to feel a little lost after your loved one's death, as you grieve their death but also try to figure out who you care and who you can be without your caregiving responsibilities. Join the AfterGiving.com community, meant for caregivers transitioning to life without caregiving.

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