November is National Family Caregivers Month
By Pam Snyder,RN
Case Manager, Ministry Medical Group
At Ministry Health Care we are aware of the growing number of families caring for their loved ones at home. Changes in coverage for
nursing home stays, changes in admission criteria to hospitals, increasing costs of care, changes in insurance coverage have impacted most households. As healthcare providers struggle to meet the growing needs of our communities with our aging population, we know it is vital for the well-being of those we serve to help caregivers identify themselves as such and to offer support and resources.
How do you know if you are a caregiver? Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you regularly help someone who….
* is over 60
* has a disability (physical or mental)
* has a chronic or progressive health problem
* has trouble taking care of him or herself at home
Do you regularly do any of the following?
* Take meals or give rides to someone
* Call or stop in to check on someone
* Clean, cook, shop, help pay bills for someone
* Provide on-going care to someone such as feeding, bathing, dressing
* Feel concern or worry that someone you know isn’t taking care of him or herself
* Feel concern or worry that someone you know who is a caregiver needs help
If you answered YES to one or more of the above questions, you are a caregiver.
Being a caregiver can be rewarding and a gift, but it can also be difficult. No matter how much you love that person, care giving has the potential to leave you feeling exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, depressed, discouraged, worried, resentful, or even angry. If you are feeling this way, you are not alone. There are many resources available locally and nationally for family caregivers.
10 Tips for Family Caregivers
Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
Learn how to talk with doctors.
Care giving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
Make sure legal documents are in order.
Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
Where to find help in the Northwoods
Aging & Disability Resource Center of the Northwood’s
1-800-699-6704 (Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Taylor counties)
Aging & Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin
1-888-486-9545 (Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Wood counties)
Family Resource Connection of Rhinelander 715-361-2890 (families with children)
Alzheimer’s Association 24 hour call line 1-800-272-3900
Vilas County Commission on Aging 1-800-374-1123
Oneida County Department on Aging 1-800-379-7499
Ministry Medical Group RN Case Management Team 715-361-4850
Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital Community Link Coordinator 715-361-2120
Wisconsin Family Caregiver Support Program
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc.
Living Well With Chronic Conditions and Powerful Tools for Caregivers
Fall prevention information
Caregiver Action Network
National Center on Caregiving | Family Caregiver Alliance
As a caregiver, you are doing God’s work with your own hands. This can be challenging, frustrating, angering, exhausting, rewarding, and life changing. Reach out, ask for and accept help!