A hospital in New York has started training retirees to help support caregivers whose family member is hospitalized. Caregivers can be overwhelmed in any situation but when a loved one is in the hospital and you can't get information or don't know who to turn to for help, it can be too much. So Montefiore Caregiver Support Center trains retirees to listen, show support, show family members where to get information, etc. They are not there to take the place of a social worker or nurse. They are there for support - even if it is only to find a quiet place for the caregiver to sit. All in all, the program wants caregivers to be better prepared for when the loved one goes home as well as better rested and reassured in their resources. In this program they are called volunteer coaches who "with no background in health care undergo training to support caregivers in hopes that families will let their guard down with a peer. They make daily rounds through Montefiore's waiting rooms and nursing stations to offer the services of the support center, where families can talk with a coach or a social worker, research caregiver resources online, or just relax in a quiet room. Montefiore put its 21 volunteers through a training course that stresses those boundaries, teaches nonjudgmental listening and lets them role-play difficult situations. The support services don't expire when the patient goes home (from Randi Kaplan, social worker). Caregivers still can call or come in indefinitely, but there are no home visits." While the article states that there are no statistics to see if this helps, they are working on an 'pilot study' on whether chemo patients stick better to their program when their caregiver is coached in providing support. All in all, a good program for any medical center as far as I am concerned.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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