Day-to-day life

couples

Caregivers sometimes become so involved in their efforts to keep things
going that they tend to forget that each day can present the opportunity to
try new approaches and activities that will make a positive difference in
their lives and the lives of those they care for.

Some things that can bring about positive changes include:
-Standing back and taking a look at your situation – what is working well
and what is not – and finding ways to make changes for the better
-Establishing routines that effectively meet your needs as well as the needs
of the one you care for
-Improving your physical surroundings
-Physical, speech, and occupational therapy and exercise
-Assistive devices that increase independence and safety, ranging from
special eating utensils to specially equipped telephones
-Improved nutrition
-Carefully monitoring medications and their interactions
-Intellectual stimulation
-Social interaction
-Spiritual renewal
-Employing home or health care personnel who demonstrate that they really do
care and who will work to foster independence
-Finding ways to economize on your workload
-Filling each day with activities you can both look forward to*

What is a Caregiver?

VA_Caregiver-Logo

One of the biggest obstacles in caregiving is recognizing that you are caregiving. Many family members think that what they are doing for their spouse, child, other relative or friend is nothing more than what family does for each other when there is a need. And that is true.

Running errands, picking up medications, driving to the doctor, arranging home care, helping to get dressed…regardless of the task, it is all caregiving. If you are helping someone with some of their activities of daily living, you are a Caregiver.

If you are caring for a Veteran, you might be eligible to participate in the Family Caregivers Program. A Primary Family Caregiver stipend is monetary compensation paid to a Primary Family Caregiver for providing personal care services to an eligible Veteran enrolled in the Caregiver Program. The stipend is not intended to replace career earnings, and receipt of the stipend payments does not create an employment relationship between VA and the Primary Family Caregiver.*

See VA fact sheet 11-04 for more details http://www.va.gov/PURCHASEDCARE/docs/pubfiles/factsheets/FactSheet_11-04.pdf

Also see the VA Caregiver Support site at http://www.caregiver.va.gov/

10 Tips for Caregivers

care hands

  1. Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

Strengthen your caregiver

careHow can Parkinson’s patients help their caregivers stay strong? By giving their best effort when undergoing therapy. When diagnosed, Parkinson’s patients and caregivers are told there is no cure for the disease and that their condition will progressively worsen. Hearing this news can be depressing. There are, however, many treatments programs available to help Parkinson’s patients resist the disease’s debilitating effects. An example of such therapy is the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) program. I can say the LSVT program has helped me by teaching me strategies to overcome Parkinson’s symptoms. (I talk about the LSVT strategies in another post) The fact is my voice is getting stronger and the concepts I’ve learned in therapy can be used in other areas of my life. This improvement has encouraged my wife. She said that seeing my progress has given her hope that we can enjoy some success at keeping the symptoms at bay. We don’t have to sit hopelessly by and wait for my condition to deteriorate. So, by giving maximum effort to my therapy, I not only help myself, I’ve strengthened my caregiver.