Janesville42.5°

Program offers tips for caregivers—including how to care for oneself

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staff, Gazette
May 1, 2013

— Do you call or visit your elderly mother every day after work to see if she needs anything?

Do you prepare daily medications in a weekly pillbox for her to take?

Do you schedule doctor’s appointments for her and sometimes accompany her to them?

If you do, you’re more than a son or a daughter. You’re a family caregiver, which is an important and helpful role.

But the job also carries a huge responsibility on top of work and your own immediate family commitments. Sometimes it’s hard to care for that loved one in need.

That’s why the Rock County Council on Aging is offering “Taking Care of You—Powerful Tools for Caregivers,’’ a series of 2.5-hour weekly classes that will meet for seven weeks this spring and fall.

The sessions are part of an education program that helps family and friends who care for older adults, said Julie Seeman, family caregiver support program and outreach specialist at the council on aging.

Caregiving can leave one with mixed emotions.

“You may find caregiving makes you feel happy or special because of your good work,” she said. “Or you may feel angry, sad or confused by the challenges of caregiving.”

These feelings are normal, she said. But if you’re feeling frustrated or too tired to give time to others, it’s time to find help for yourself, Seeman stressed.

“It’s OK to ask for help from other family members, friends or from professionals,” she said.

Some caregivers find it helpful to talk with someone they trust by going to spiritual leaders, churches or counselors, Seeman said.

“By helping yourself, you are more helpful to those who need your care,” she said.

That’s because, “in time, everyone becomes a caregiver—and we all need help now and then.’’



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