When a loved one needs help, it is common for family and friends to step in and do what they can. When an aging loved one begins to need more and more support, family and friends often take on additional responsibilities without even realizing they are becoming caregivers. While this sounds like a simple transition, the role of a caregiver is actually quite complex.
As of 2020, family caregivers now include more than one in five Americans. No matter if the older adult in need of support is in a senior living community with many resources, like Anthology of Millis, or living independently at home, family caregivers are an integral part of helping seniors to live full, happy, healthy lives. So, what do family caregivers do? And where do they find resources, support and information to help in their role?
National Family Caregivers Month
Every year, the month of November is National Family Caregivers Month. The month is dedicated to raising awareness of caregiving issues, increasing support for caregivers and educating people of all ages about the role and responsibilities of caregivers.
This observance of National Family Caregivers Month is led by the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), a not-for-profit organization that offers free education and resources to family caregivers. The theme of the month is #CaregivingHappens.
So, what is a family caregiver? Family caregivers provide an average of 23.7 hours of care each week; the number of hours of care may be higher for family members who live with the care recipients. Family caregivers help seniors with a variety of tasks that are broken down into a few main categories, including:
Assisting with the activities of daily living
Help with grocery shopping
Help with housework
Assistance with medication and nursing care
Making decisions regarding health and finances
Creating and updating care plans
Responding to emergencies
Creating long-term care plans
Family caregivers can also play a vital role in providing social interaction and emotional support. In senior communities, like Anthology of Rochester Hills, residents have access to social programs and events that allow them to engage and connect with neighbors and peers; many seniors living alone depend on family caregivers for entertainment and social support.
Providing Caregiver Support
The need for family caregivers is expected to continue to rise. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of adults over the age of 65 will pass the 95 million mark by the year 2060. This rapid growth of the older adult population is primarily driven by aging baby boomers, a generation born between 1946 and 1964. Older Americans are also living longer, while also increasing their risk of developing age-related conditions, such as dementia, heart disease and cancer. As a result, the need for senior care in general, as well as for family caregivers and for support for caregivers, continues to rise.
Senior living communities, like Anthology of Tuckahoe, are prepared for the so-called “silver tsunami” and are ready to meet a variety of levels of need, ranging from daily support to medical care and dementia care.
To help keep family caregivers engaged and passionate about their role, it is important to find support for caregivers. Here are some ideas of how to provide caregiver support:
Help the caregiver to create a schedule and a care plan for the person in need of care.
Set times to check in on the caregiver.
Provide emotional and social support for the caregiver, including listening when they need to discuss their struggles.
Assist the caregiver with chores, errands and other tasks.
Ensure the caregiver is attending to their own health needs.
Family caregivers who need additional support can look for support groups, respite care services or individual counseling. Some senior living communities, like Anthology of Mason, can also support families as they transition their caregiving responsibilities to professionals.
About Anthology Senior Living
Anthology Senior Living offers independent living, assisted living and memory care services. At Anthology of Troy and all our communities, we are committed to supporting each resident’s unique choices, needs and life plans. Our culture is rooted in our values – aspirational living, smart compassion, uncompromising care, empowering connections, transparent culture and celebrating individuals.
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