According to the National Family Caregiver Association’s website, 29 percent of people in the U.S. provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or an aging family member or friend and at least 20 hours per week are spent providing care (Caregiving in the United States; National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009).
Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), a private, non-profit corporation serving seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers throughout greater Brockton and Plymouth County, offers 7 Tips for Caregivers this holiday season:
1. Be kind to yourself. Caregiving can be very hard work; take time to appreciate the loving care you provide. Know that every day you are doing the best you can.
2. Take care of yourself. Make and keep your own doctor’s appointments and other appointments that help to keep you well.
3. Remember to ask for help. People will often be happy to assist if they know what is needed; Caregivers need a break too.
4. Reach out to others for professional support if needed.
5. Set limits for what you are able to do; no one can do everything.
6. The best decisions are joint decisions; when possible, include the person for whom you are caring in matters that will affect him or her. This helps to reduce conflict and can lead to better outcomes.
7. Do your best to remain optimistic; this will help to lift everyone’s mood. When difficulties arise, know that this too, shall pass.
“The holidays can be a stressful time of year, but more so for caregivers. Many family caregivers are spouses, some of whom have their own health issues. Others are daughters and sons, more than half of whom are trying to hold down a job and take care of their own children as well. It’s very important that caregivers take care of themselves in order to avoid burnout and remain physically and emotionally healthy,” noted Diana DiGiorgi, OCES’ Executive Director.
Incorporated in 1974, Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) is a private, non-profit corporation designated as one of 27 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers such as Family Caregiver Support; Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services and Home Care.
OCES serves elders, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers in 23 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts: Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman. The organization’s mission is to support the independence and dignity of elders and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. For more information call (508) 584-1561 or visit the website at www.oldcolonyelderservices.org.