Caregiving can seem like a long laundry list of things that can be overwhelming. In my Caregiving Tips 101 post, I talked about some things to consider as a caregiver. If you haven’t already, please check it out here. Because it is not an easy task and comes with responsibilities, in the long run it can result in a range of emotions. The emotional toll can break even the most resilient of us. Going through all the steps to make sure things are in order can result in a number of challenges and feelings such as:

– Stress
– Feeling emotionally drained
– Financial strain (there are a number of unexpected out of pocket expenses)
– Depression
– Physical pain
– Fatigue
– Not managing one’s health (i.e. physically or mentally)

Taking care of yourself should be a priority, because you need to be your best self in order to be able to take care of your loved one. If you cannot take care of yourself then chances of you taking care of someone else is very minimal. The above feelings are natural but you don’t have to go through it alone. There are a number of programs and services to aid you along the way. Don’t be shy in taking advantage of these programs because they are there to help us.

Below is a list of some caregiver support programs. Please note that this list is not meant to be exhaustive but these are some resources that I have come to know about and use it in my own personal caregiving journey:

  • Paid Family Leave: State such as New York, California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Washington and New Jersey have paid family and medical leave. This is for those who wish to take a paid leave of absence of from work to take care of a loved one with a serious health condition. Please note that the number of paid weeks and paid benefits varies from state to state.
  • Respite Care: As a caregiver, you are often juggling a multiple of responsibilities involving the care of your loved one. However, although caregiving can seem like a full-time job in itself, most still have other life responsibilities. These can include work, a family, raising kids, volunteer work, among others. As much as you may feel the need to do/handle everything on your own, remember you need the break! Here are a number of respite care options available such as:

    – Part-time Home Aid/Companion
    – Adult Day Care Center
    – Overnight Stays at a Nursing Facility

  • Support Groups: Caregiving is a huge undertaking and it can be nice to have a group of others who can relate to you. You can find a support group near you or online (i.e. Facebook) where you can connect with others who can relate to how you feel and the challenges you are going through.

To learn more about these and other programs, contact your local department of health or aging, a home care agency or a patient advocacy organization.

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