Family Caregiving Blog
44 Million Americans currently provide some type of care for a family member – whether it’s transporting them to appointments or helping them get prescriptions filled, all the way to feeding and bathing them. When you look for caregiving resources online you might find definitions of the stages of caregiving or tips on taking time for yourself and relieving stress; but what you don’t find is the nitty gritty, real deal, “here’s what to do” practical advice that caregivers really need. Don’t tell me that I should “seek out respite services” when really all I need help with is figuring out how to change an adult diaper, am I right?!
What can really help caregivers with stress? Minimizing the tasks, jobs and everyday challenges that they face. There is a vast array of techniques, tricks and tools that I wish I had known in the beginning of Mom’s care. But I know them now, and I want to spread the word.
For example, in the early years of caring for Mom, we experienced SO much stress around taking pills. The fatigue and weakness from her MS, in conjunction with the loads of seizure meds she was on, made swallowing pills rather difficult for her. Many times a pill swallowing session ended after a half hour of stern commands, lots of water, and me using my finger to push pills down her throat that she simply couldn’t swallow.
Turns out, crushing pills and feeding them to her with pudding or applesauce was an option. No doctor or nurse ever told us this, and I never thought to ask. It wasn’t until Mom was put on a dysphagia diet that we discovered the glories of crushing pills from a speech pathologist.
And that’s just one of about a million little things that can start helping alleviate stress for caregivers. Did you know you can get lots of tests (including blood draws and x-rays) done right in your home? And that under pads for people with incontinence are the same thing as doggy potty-training pads, and you can get them in bulk at big box stores? Have you heard of a “weighted blanket” and how great it is for people with tremors and anxiety? The list goes on.
Helen Keller once said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.”
As rewarding as caregiving can be, there’s plenty of suffering and feeling helpless too, for both the family member and their caregiver. Overcoming that suffering with practical, real-world advice and solutions is what Give a Care is all about.
Use the menu above and categories on the right to navigate through the various caregiving resources and posts we have to share. We’ll continue to post weekly with new ideas, topics, resources and updates. We hope you and the person you care for find them helpful!