Tag Archives: Caregiver Support

Family Caregivers Support and Rights

According to the 2010 MetLife Study of Working Caregiver and Employer Health Costs report, sixty percent of family caregivers provide care for a loved one while also working outside the home. These responsibilities take a toll on health, emotions and family life.

Many caregivers are unfamiliar with protections afforded them by the government and organizations that can assist them in providing care for their loved one.

Federal Workplace protection is available in several forms:

  1. Caregivers can find protection under provisions set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If a woman is treated differently than her peers because of her caregiving responsibilities or a man is denied leave for the same responsibilities, protection may be afforded.
  2. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1994 provides employees the right to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over a 12-month period. Those caring for Veterans are allowed up to 26 weeks under the Support for Injured Servicemen Act of 2007. Certain qualifications must be met which can be found on the Department of Labor’s site.
  3. While on extended leave a caregiver’s employer must continue to provide existing health benefits and hold their job if all qualifications are met.

Not all caregivers need workplace protection. Many simply need support services and resources to help make their job a little less daunting.  Many organizations provide classes and training online or at a specified location.

  1. American Red Cross Family Caregiver Classes; The purpose of Family Caregiver Support Classes is to help participants gain an understanding of what is involved in caring for a loved one and know how to provide that care through eight one-hour class modules  covering topics such as personal care, nutrition, home safety and others.
  2. National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; Provides information and helps older persons and persons with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
  3. The National Adult Day Services Association; The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) is the leading voice of the rapidly growing adult day service industry in the United States, and the national focal point for adult day services providers.

More Caregiving Support Groups can be found on our Support Groups page.

When it comes to providing this much-needed care, remember to take care of yourself and seek help as needed. There is no shame in  admitting you need assistance whether it be a result of workplace discrimination or simply finding someone to give advice or provide respite care in your absence.

Family Caregivers Support and Rights

According to the 2010 MetLife Study of Working Caregiver and Employer Health Costs report, sixty percent of family caregivers provide care for a loved one while also working outside the home. These responsibilities take a toll on health, emotions and family life.

Many caregivers are unfamiliar with protections afforded them by the government and organizations that can assist them in providing care for their loved one.

Federal Workplace protection is available in several forms:

  1. Caregivers can find protection under provisions set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If a woman is treated differently than her peers because of her caregiving responsibilities or a man is denied leave for the same responsibilities, protection may be afforded.
  2. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1994 provides employees the right to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over a 12-month period. Those caring for Veterans are allowed up to 26 weeks under the Support for Injured Servicemen Act of 2007. Certain qualifications must be met which can be found on the Department of Labor’s site.
  3. While on extended leave a caregiver’s employer must continue to provide existing health benefits and hold their job if all qualifications are met.

Not all caregivers need workplace protection. Many simply need support services and resources to help make their job a little less daunting.  Many organizations provide classes and training online or at a specified location.

  1. American Red Cross Family Caregiver Classes; The purpose of Family Caregiver Support Classes is to help participants gain an understanding of what is involved in caring for a loved one and know how to provide that care through eight one-hour class modules  covering topics such as personal care, nutrition, home safety and others.
  2. National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; Provides information and helps older persons and persons with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
  3. The National Adult Day Services Association; The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) is the leading voice of the rapidly growing adult day service industry in the United States, and the national focal point for adult day services providers.

More Caregiving Support Groups can be found on our Support Groups page.

When it comes to providing this much-needed care, remember to take care of yourself and seek help as needed. There is no shame in  admitting you need assistance whether it be a result of workplace discrimination or simply finding someone to give advice or provide respite care in your absence.

Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Caregivers: Re-examine Your Options Before Quitting Your Job

Being a caregiver to your aging parents most certainly feels like a full time job and all the added responsibilities and pressures may make it seem as though giving up your day job to provide full-time care to your parents is the best option. However, before taking that giant leap, adult children should reconsider their options.

A recent MetLife study suggests that U.S. adult children should think twice about abandoning their careers in order to provide full time care for a parent due to the loss of revenue they are sacrificing both now and in the future. Around 10 million employed caregivers in the U.S. lose an estimated $3 trillion in wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over a lifetime for leaving the workforce prematurely.

In the last 15 years alone the percentage of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled. Among baby boomers providing care daughters are more likely to provide basic care to their aging parents than sons who are more likely to offer financial assistance.

When adult children sacrifice work to provide care to their parents they are not only missing out on a paycheck, but also years of service required to become vested in a defined benefits pension plan, to receive matching 401(k) funds or to build Social Security benefits.

Caregivers should budget their funds carefully and examine possible freer or low-cost community services and government health programs. The following list from the American Cancer Society provides a great starting point for caregivers to find the help they need in lieu of taking a sojourn from their careers.

1. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

(800) 424-3410

Offers information on financial planning and estate planning, money management assistance to low-income seniors who have difficulty budgeting, paying bills, and reconciling bank statements. Helps prevent financial abuse of frail, older adults and enables them to remain financially viable and in their own homes.

2. Caring Voice Coalition

1-804-427-6468,  1-888-267-1440

Seeks to empower patients with life-threatening, chronic illnesses. Current programs include a financial

assistance program, insurance education and counseling, and a patient support program.

3. Dignity Resources

1-877-563-2100

Helps people understand the assets and financial options available to them during a serious or life-threatening illness, and assists them in making the most informed choices possible given their particular situation.

4. The National Council on Aging

Compares the information you give with eligibility requirements for Social Security, Medicaid, in-home services, supplemental nutrition assistance, pharmacy programs, and state programs.

5. U.S. Administration on Aging

1-800-677-1116

Provides benefits for older adults. Eldercare locator finds resources in your local community.

6. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

A federal, state, and locally funded program designed to provide assistance to those eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals who, without this care, would be unable to remain safely in their own homes.

7. BenefitsCheckUpRx

Resource provided by the National Council on the Aging for individuals age 55 and older who have difficulty paying for their medicines. Web site can find drug assistance programs as well as programs to help with rent, property taxes, meals and other needs.

8. Together Rx Access

1-800-444-4106

Helps individuals and families who lack prescription drug coverage save on brand-name prescription drugs, other prescription products, and a wide range of generic drugs. Must meet eligibility criteria.

9. American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program

1-800-227-2345

Volunteers transport patients and families to hospitals and clinics for treatment free of charge. In some places, the American Cancer Society may also provide limited assistance with the cost of gas.

10. National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)

Learn practical steps to get smart about money from getting out of debt and budgeting to setting financial goals and investing money to reach those goals.

Finding the time and resources to care for aging parents is no easy task, but abandoning your career is not going to be beneficial to you in the short or long term. Take some time to research other available options and consider what is at stake for your financial future.

Sandwich Generation Month

In the Caregiving world July is called Sandwich Generation Month. Every July we like to commemorate and celebrate the dedication, patience, and caring of those adults who are part of the Sandwich Generation. For these strong individuals every single day comes with new challenges. So we would like to celebrate and raise awareness for all they do for the ones they love.

The Sandwich generation is the generation that has the task of caring for their aging parents along with supporting their own children. This time can be very stressful for those who are part of it. Every day presents new challenges for the Sandwich Generation and these people work very hard to ensure the safety and care of their loved ones.

This Month we would like to take the opportunity to raise awareness and provide help for those who are part of the Sandwich Generation. You can find links on our blog along with tips posted on our Twitter and Facebook page throughout the month. If you are a member of the Sandwich Generation just know that you aren’t alone. Don’t let your responsibilities consume you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help as Life Fone and other people around the world would love to give you tips and resources to make you lives easier and less stressful.

Gender Gaps in Caregiving

There have been numerous reports detailing the gender gap among unpaid caregivers in the United States, most however, have focused on young families and the care they provide to their children. Recently, however, the Population Reference Bureau examined the gender gap in caregivers later in life to explore whether marital status and retirement made a difference in how men and women help others.

When it comes to men and women in caregiving, not surprisingly, there are distinct differences. Most elderly individuals – 65 percent – with long-term needs rely exclusively on family and friends to provide assistance. When it comes to who is providing the care, it is estimated that female caregivers spend 50 percent more time providing care than men. Continue reading

Coping with Criticism

Since the sole responsibility of caregiving for a parent typically rests on the shoulders of one adult sibling, the burden he or she experiences is often overwhelming. While the caregiver’s siblings may not be a part of the day-to-day monotony that is caregiving, it doesn’t stop them from offering up their advice and criticisms regarding how their parent is being cared for. Similarly, the loved one you are caring for may have a few derogatory things to say in regards to how they perceive you as a caregiver.

When criticisms come from loved ones they hold the power to hurt since the people we love the most can hurt us the most. Continue reading

How to Get Your Siblings to Share the Caregiving Burden

Vector image of two human figures with hands i...

Image via Wikipedia

Emotional stress and turmoil among siblings are often bi-products of caregiving. Statistics show that the sole responsibility of caregiving often rests on the shoulders of one adult sibling, usually the family member who lives the closest to the parent in need.  With other adult siblings skirting the responsibility  citing lack of time, money or claiming they simply cannot bear to see their parent in such ill health, strong feelings of resentment and abandonment are often evoked  in the sibling serving as the primary caregiver.

In healthy families asking for help is an easy extension, but functional families are hard to to find. Most families have an uneven balance of power, a lack of compassion or an inability to communicate with constructive results. Caregiving duties should be split up evenly, but asking for help can trigger insecurities in the sole caregiver in fear their siblings will deem them an inadequate caregiver, respond negatively or simply deny the fact your parent needs help.

While you should not abandon the thought of requesting help from your siblings, you should have more realistic expectations in the potential outcome. Assuming your siblings will take their fair share of the responsibility is probably just a set up for a let down. The best way to prep yourself when asking for help is to clarify your goals without setting exact expectations.

  1. It is important to define your goal. When calling siblings try to discover how they are willing to help or ask them for their opinions regarding your parent’s problems instead of assuming they are willing to undertake certain duties. This way your goal becomes discovering exactly what they are willing to do in the beginning stages of caregiving, instead of your goal being to get them to do a specific task.
  2. Abandon your expectations. Expectations are rarely met. They simply open you up to vulnerability and resentment which will not be beneficial to your caregiving role. Be open to hearing what your siblings have to say. Don’t abandon hope if your siblings are unwilling to offer help with the initial conversation, be persistent and optimistic.
  3. Be clear in what you need. While you should respect what your siblings have to say, they should respect your desire to relieve some of the burden. As your role progresses as a caregiver you can be more specific in asking siblings for certain help. Ask them to take your parent for the weekend, so you can receive needed respite or tell them what specific areas you need help in. Clearly addressing the issues leads to better results. If your siblings are still unwilling to cooperate give them a chance to offer a way they can participate that works for them.
  4. Discover how your siblings are willing to support you. If your siblings are unwilling to support your parent, discover how they are willing to support you whether it be financial or emotional, they should contribute in some way.

Getting siblings on the same page as you when it comes to caregiving is no easy task. It can be extremely time consuming and offer little results. The most important thing is to never abandon hope, do not give up on your siblings providing care no matter how big or small. It is also important to remember there are other services available at your disposal including friends, neighbors, senior centers and caregiver groups. Caregiving is not a task that should be undertaken alone. Be persistent in seeking help, regardless of where you find it.

The 6 Secrets to Achieving Balance Every Caregiver Needs to Know

Drunk by real Love

 

As a caregiver, everyday is a mishmash of appointments and routines. From the moment you step out of bed the frenzy ensues. While there is slight comfort in knowing you are not alone, you struggle to find the individual time and outlets that make both your life and your familys’ a little less hectic. Knowing where to look to receive respite and remain level-headed separates the balanced caregivers from those constantly striving to find peace of mind. All caregivers need to be given the tools to find balance each and every day to maintain their sanity and continue to provide excellent care. With a few helpful tips and a couple inside secrets from seasoned caregivers, embracing your inter-balance is finally within reach.

 

  1. Alleviate Winter Blues: The winter months are often a breeding ground for feelings of depression. With the let down from the holidays, the absence of the sun and the ever present gray skies, it is easy to feel down. Leaving the house every day even becomes a challenge with the slick ice and chilling temperatures, however there is no need to allow these feelings to consume your life. Make sure you and your care recipient are getting proper exercise to raise your endorphins. Walk through the mall, join a gym or seek exercise classes for your parents at a local senior center. Make sure to schedule a weekly event both of you can look forward to, whether it is going to a movie, going out to eat or having a friend over to the house.
  2. Winter Proof Your House: Just as winter can be a catalyst for the blues, it can also lead to increased panic for caregivers as they assess safety threats brought on by the winter months. Safety proofing the house for falls is imperative – remove throw rugs and make sure handrails are secured both inside and outside the house. Buy proper winter wear for your loved one – boots with added traction and heavy duty coats are a must. Also ensure that snow removal is adequately handled and that every entryway and sidewalk is properly maintained.
  3. Plan, Plan and Plan Some More:  One of the most critical elements to maintaining your sanity is keeping appointments and activities straight. Make sure to keep your calendar up to date and carry a planner with you. Make arrangements for doctor’s appointments well in advance and stay up to date on all the activities your family has planned as well. Take a notebook with you to all of your loved ones doctor’s appointments so you can jot down what the medical professionals tell you. Also keep notes in this notebook between visits to document your loved one’s progress or write down any questions that may arise.
  4. Maintain Your Support Group: Establishing a tight knit support group will lessen the stress you are undergoing. You should not have to do it all alone, if someone offers their help, hold them accountable and take them up on it. Consult friends, family, websites, books and local support groups. Maintain open communication with your family members and siblings to update them on your parents’ health and request their help.
  5. Examine your care recipient’s current situation: Compile all of your loved ones medical records, health conditions, prescriptions, doctor’s names and contact information. Take inventory of their financial health including their property ownership, debts, income, expenses and credit card information. Make sure you also have access to your parent’s important documents including their will, power of attorney, social security number, insurance policies and deed to the house. Knowing you have this vital information readily available will save you much stress and time.
  6. Say Goodbye to Caregiver Guilt: Guilt consumes much needed energy that should be channeled elsewhere. Never feel bad for living your life and enjoying time away from your caregiver duties, your loved one would want you to. They lived a full life and now it is your chance to do the same. Schedule “you time” on a regular basis. Make time for your spouse, family and friends or enjoy a weekend away.

 If you take these simple suggestions to heart your life will still be interrupted by the occasional bout of chaos, but you will be equipped with the tools to manage these speed bumps and maintain mental balance. Most importantly, always know that you are doing your best, and that your parent appreciates all that you do even if they don’t, or can’t, vocalize it.

4 Steps for Surviving Life After Caregiving

After a tumultuous journey riddled with ups and downs, the path of a caregiver eventually comes to an end. While many anticipate the possibilities for their life post-caregiving, the actuality is that the chronic stress associated with caregiving doesn’t end when your caregiving duties do and most are unprepared for this time. After devoting your life to the care of a loved one over the course of a few years, you may find it is now impossible to live the life you led pre-caregiving both socially and professionally.

Caregiving takes a major toll on one’s professional life, and often derails it all together. Re-entering the job market after an extended lapse can be extremely difficult and overwhelming. Many find that the business world has radically changed in their absence, on top of the fact that they are entering a dilapidated job market.

Don’t let the fact that you are homebound and financially strapped deter you. There are important steps caregivers can take to keep themselves current and active for life after caregiving.

  1. Stay Connected: Caregivers often feel socially isolated. During your time as a caregiver don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by avoiding social networking sites. Staying connected with others via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. will
    Twitter logo initial

    Image via Wikipedia

    immensely help your professional networking opportunities. Staying up to date with current trends, and remaining informed on the current job market are crucial to your success, make social networking a priority in your life.

  2. Own your Caregiving Role: Being a caregiver broadens your skill set and equips you with desirable and employable traits. Following your role as a caregiver, you will have sharpened your negotiating skills, strengthened your managerial skills and become an expert in technical jargon in the fields of medicine, law and finance. When you begin interviewing again, stress the skills you developed and honed in your caregiving role.
  3. Regain Your Confidence: Being a caregiver is draining and caregivers face burnouts. Post-caregiving devote time to yourself: catch up on sleep, exercise, make time to reconnect with friends and make healthier food choices. Once you start taking time for yourself you will feel more at ease putting yourself out there in the job market.
  4. Consider New Fields:  Use your experience as a homebound caregiver to explore new fields or look into start-up opportunities that can be conducted from your home. Explore the plethora of affordable online courses that are crafted to fit around your schedule. If you are worried the prospect of getting your old job back is going to be an uphill battle, consider immersing yourself in a new venture.

Regaining your life post-caregiving will not be an easy task, it will take some readjusting. Use your time as a caregiver to explore the endless opportunities available to you on the Internet, and you will find your home feels like an arena full of ideas, networking and opportunities. Most importantly, don’t give up hope, the right opportunity awaits.

Family Caregivers Face Major Financial Burdens, Increased Stress, and Work Struggles | Caring.com

Image representing Caring.com as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Family Caregivers Face Major Financial Burdens, Increased Stress, and Work Struggles | Caring.com.

New Caring.com survey reveals major financial and emotional costs of caregiving

San Mateo, CA, February 3, 2011 – With the population of America continuing to age, and 2011 bringing the highest percentage ever of U.S. citizens above the age of 65, there is now a greater need for caregivers than ever before. A new survey from Caring.com, the leading online destination for family caregivers, has revealed that the majority of caregivers are deeply impacted by the financial and emotional costs of caring for their loved ones.

Read more