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With A Little Help Recognizes Family Caregiving Month

With A Little Help recognizes Family Caregiving month! Thank you for all the meaningful hours you contribute in support of parents, partners and friends in need.  We’re in awe of the dedication and poise you demonstrate as we work side by side in support of your loved one.  We join millions of Americans who pause this month to recognize all you do.

We’re inspired by your loyalty and the way you graciously make room in your lives for increasing care needs. We know it can be hard to ask for help and difficult to make financial allowances for professional caregiving relief.  We understand that hiring a caregiver often means dealing with change and privacy concerns for yourself and your family and we appreciate your generosity in letting our staff be your support.

sarah-morningstarFormer client Sarah Morningstar recently talked to the Washington Home Care Association professional gathering about the experience that she and her partner Cheryl had with professional caregiving. She articulated the overwhelming role of family caregiving, the temporary mental blur that resulted, and why she contracted caregiving support:

“I represent the families of those you are serving. The ones who tried desperately to make it work on our own. Who tried juggling schedules, dinners, laundry, children and of course, the family member who was in need of constant care. [When] I contacted the agency…I barely remember the intake meeting. But what I do remember was the immediate relief I found. I could go back to work and not freak out. Cheryl would be in good hands.”

Morningstar followed a well trod caregiver’s path and, in the beginning, she was able to do it all herself–sort of. Family caregiving increasingly requires soft medical skills, transfer strength, nighttime monitoring, and medication management.  “[When] the sky fell on our lives,” Morningstar said, referring to the return of Cheryl’s CNS lymphoma, “the only way we were going to make it was if we put our lives, dirty underwear, burnt pans, toy tornados, and all in the hands of strangers. The first morning I met the caregiver, I showed her the med chart, the routine and…[When I returned] dishes were done. The toys were put away. The beds were made fresh every week. Dinner, if we needed it, was organized. Trips to the doctor were handled. I could literally let Cheryl sleep, give the caregiver a high five as they came in the house, and leave…it was an amazing gift of time.”

The learning curve and increasing demands of family caregiving require dedication and can monopolize time, consequently, caregivers are usually the last to practice good self-care. A majority of you say that self-may care is easier said then done, yet, studies abound showing us that caring for oneself is the foundation of providing good care to ocaregivers-profilethers and it’s critical for our own well-being. Fortunately, home health care agencies, online information, and support programs are all on the rise. With A Little Help is proud, for instance, to provide caregiver respite through the Caregiver’s Day Off program offered to families living with Parkinson’s Disease and Lifespan Respite of Washington.

Resources for family caregivers are on the rise because family caregiving is on the rise. 66 million people serve as family caregivers in America. One in six also work. Do you? Click on the PBS newshour image (left)  for a surprising picture of the typical long term caregiver and her experience.

Caregiving is usually delivered  behind closed doors in America.  Jack Watters, Vice President for External Affairs at Pfizer and himself once a family caregiver, told a recent Seattle forum that the first step is to “come out.” Talk to people, tell your employer, share your experience with others but get your important work in caring for America’s sick and aging out of the closet! Watters’ remarks and several more outstanding articles are online at Washington Post’s Caregiving: A Special Report.  Will you come out? Many people are contributing their stories of family caregiving to the site I heart Caregivers sponsored by AARP for Family Caregiving Month. Consider adding your story.

If you’re a family caregiver please take a break!  To explore how our agency can help call: 206 352 7399 or email care@nullwithalittlehelp.com

From our caregiving agency to all family caregivers thank you for the things you do!

 

 

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