What is a care giver? It’s anyone who is giving care to another person in need. While most people think of heath care providers as care givers, many of the people in our everyday lives end up becoming our care givers.
A family care giver is anyone who provides any type of physical and/or emotional care for an ill or disabled loved one at home, but “family” can be anyone who cares enough to show up and take care of the ailing individual.
And while the community may send food or prayers for the ill or disabled loved one, often times we forget the stress and hardships the care giver goes through giving time, effort and emotional exertion that is involved in taking care of someone they love, who may be declining in health.
So, what can we offer to those who may be burning the candle at both ends? Many adults are now finding themselves with both children and aging parents to care for, named the “sandwich generation”, as they are pushed together by the needs of both sets of loved ones.
There are many programs for the respite, or rest, for those who give care to their loved ones. It is a heaviness that can weigh on some in many ways. It can become a financial strain, as well as an emotional strain to deal with caring for someone who is dearly loved, while watching them slowing become less independent.
Below are some wonderful links that can give you access to resources, support groups and get you in touch with others that are going through the same thing you are, as a family care giver:
Caregiver Resource Directory
Offered by Beth Israel Medical Center, this practical guide is intended to help family caregivers
feel less alone and overwhelmed. It offers resources, facts, and advice about caring for a loved
one, as well as the caregiver. The Directory is designed as an interactive three-ring binder with
27 pockets and ample writing space so that caregivers can organize all resource and medical
information in one place. The Directory can be ordered online at:
Caregiver Survival Resources
One of the most visited caregiver sites, with links to resources, such as government and nonprofit
agencies, and lists of local and regional resources.
Resources for family caregivers. It includes everything they need to assess, plan, manage and
monitor the best care for their loved ones.
Family Caregiver Alliance
More than 20 years of advocacy and support for family caregivers. This site features online
support for family caregivers, as well as bilingual information for Spanish-speaking people.
National Alliance for Caregiving
Support for family caregivers and the professionals who help them.
National Family Caregivers Alliance
Family Caregiver Alliance, is a support organization for caregivers. You will find specialized
information on Alzheimer's disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, ALS and
other disorders and long-term care concerns.
National Family Caregivers Association
NFCA is a grass roots organization created to educate, support, empower and advocate for the
millions of Americans who care for chronically ill, aged or disabled loved ones. Some of their
publications are: Ten Tips for Family Caregivers, Caregiver Self-Advocacy Four Messages to
Live By, A Guide to Improving Doctor/Caregiver Communication.
Well Spouse Foundation
Offers spousal caregivers support in the form of local groups or e-mail “round robins.” The site
also lists regional activities and publications for spousal caregivers.
Take solace in knowing that you are doing something wonderful as a family care giver and there are programs in place to help you during your times of distress.