Here is a great post to kick off our August theme of Advocating for Others written by Editorial Intern Colin DeMatteis that shares some resources for Health Activist caregivers. Caregiving is a significant undertaking no matter who the person receiving the care is. If you’re looking for more information on caregiving or just want to check out some places for support, Colin’s compiled a great collection that should be helpful for you to share with caregivers you may know in your community. –Amanda
A Brief Rundown of Caregiver Resources
From epilepsy to veteran care, from neighbors and spouses to professionals, caregivers come in all styles and help people with all types of conditions.
To say Health Activists who care for others have a difficult job may be the understatement of the year. Taking care of a spouse, family member or even complete stranger is a full time job usually added on top of an already hectic schedule. Many caregivers are also part of the growing post-baby boom “Sandwich Generation:” caregivers who balance taking care of aging parents while also raising children. And while all caregivers can struggle to balance caring for others with self-care, it is especially easy for this middle generation to forget to take care of themselves.
Whether or not you are part of the Sandwich Generation, the following list of online resources can be a great help to any caregiver who needs support, care giving tips, or just a reminder that caregivers, too, deserve some empathy.
The Well Spouse Association: Focused specifically on spousal caregivers, this site offers a number of resources for caregivers helping with any type of condition. Their full list of resources is available here. (If that link is broken, you can find it at http://www.wellspouse.org/resources/)
For spouses in the United States trying to find a human face they can speak to, the WSA also hosts a large number of support groups throughout the U.S. Check their directory here. (http://www.wellspouse.org/support-groups-contacts/sgl-contacts/)
There is a fee to sign up for the full site, but most of their resources can be accessed for free and spouses caring for wounded veterans can join free of charge.
Your Caregiving Journey & CareGiving.com: Started in 1996, caregiving.com has become a repository of information and inspiration for caregivers. The founder of the site is Denise Brown, a ‘caregiving coach’ – someone who helps caregivers and their families get organized to care for a relative – who focuses on elder care. However, her site also features blogs and resources for caring for children, siblings, and spouses as well as tips on how to balance a career with caregiving.
Your Caregiving Journey is a radio show that Denise hosts every week. Shows usually run around an a half hour and focus on single topics such as tips for balancing a caregiving budget, how to combat depression, or ways to deal with caregiving guilt. Nearly 350 episodes are available on demand at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/caregiving
AgingCare.com: This free, practical site brings together a senior housing database, caregiver support advice, and tips for all aspects of cargiving for elders. It’s a great resource if you find yourself in need of information on well-reviewed assisted living facilities or information in general.
The caregiver support page is particularly useful if need tips on getting family involved or need advice on taking a bit of respite. Find the help you need at http://www.agingcare.com/Caregiver-Support
Lotsa Helping Hands: Sometimes caregivers need more than tips and support. Lotsa helping hands is a way to organize and mobilize friends and family members to help take care of someone in need.
In brief, lotsa helping hands is a free, interactive calendar that allows caregivers to plan out daily activities and needs while delegating some activities to friends and family. The calendar of events is private, but a caregiver can grant access to anyone with an email address and the will to help. These people can then volunteer to help with any activity throughout the month. Their names and times update automatically on the calendar, so the primary caregiver knows who will be helping and when.
It’s free, safe, and a great way to get everyone involved. If this sounds like it would be a good fit for you, check it out here: https://wsa.lotsahelpinghands.com/caregiving/home/
Caring From a Distance: Lastly, this website and directory offers help to anyone who is too far removed to give full time care but still wants to participate or have a governing hand. Long distance caregivers who travel often will find this site especially useful. Try using it in conjunction with Lotsa Helping Hands to create a truly effective long-distance care system. Find out more at http://www.cfad.org/index.cfm
Was this brief list helpful to you? Know a site we missed that really helped you? Do you have some caregiving knowledge that others could benefit from? Share your thoughts or a story in the comments.