Eight Tips For Caregivers To Help Ease The Risky Business Of Caregiving
North American Precis Syndicate
Caring for loved ones can be easier—and even more rewarding—if you heed a few hints. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—Millions of unpaid, family caregivers may be putting their own
long-term health and financial security at risk when providing support for
relatives or friends who need help taking care of themselves. Research from
nonprofit Transamerica Institute® finds that 69 percent of
caregivers gave little or no consideration to their own financial situation
when deciding to become a caregiver, and 55 percent say their own health
takes a back seat to that of the person they are caring for.
“Caregivers play a vital role in our society. It is imperative that we
raise awareness of the issues and risks they face and offer meaningful
solutions that can help them better manage their responsibilities,” said
Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of
Transamerica Institute. If you are among the growing number of family
caregivers, these eight tips can help you maintain your own well-being while
caring for your loved one.
1. Take care of your own health and
wellness. Your physical health is important, too. Eating well, getting
enough sleep, exercising, and taking breaks can all help increase your
energy, reduce stress and improve your mood. Remember your own medical
checkups and let your doctors know of any changes to your health.
2. Share caregiving
and non-caregiving responsibilities. Share caregiving with family members and friends, or seek out
community resources, such as adult day programs or transportation services.
Ask for help with your own day-to-day responsibilities that caregiving makes difficult; it may be easier to find help
with those activities than with caregiving.
3. If employed, strive to stay in
the workforce while caregiving. Consider all
your options before reducing hours, job responsibilities or quitting your
job. Taking time out of the workforce could make it difficult to return to
work and to find a job at the same level of pay.
4. Ask if your employer offers
programs or benefits to help caregivers. Many employers offer the ability
to work remotely, flexible hours and compressed workweeks, which can make it
easier to juggle work and caregiving. Ask if your
employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which may include
referrals to services for caregivers and care recipients.
5. Learn about the Family and
Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law that requires covered employers
to provide their eligible employees with protected, unpaid work leave for qualified medical and family reasons. It can
help employees balance their job with caring for a family member with a
serious health condition. To learn more about FMLA and whether you are
eligible, visit dol.gov/whd/fmla,
and consider consulting your employer’s HR department.
6. Keep your own long-term
financial security top of mind. As a caregiver, it is especially
important to budget, keep track of expenses and save for the future. Save for
retirement either through your employer’s 401(k) or similar plan, or in an
IRA. Avoid taking loans or early withdrawals from those accounts.
7. Explore programs that provide
financial assistance to caregivers. Some states have programs for
Medicaid recipients to help pay nonprofessional caregivers, such as Cash
& Counseling and In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). Veterans may be
eligible for the Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services
(VD-HCBS) program. If the care recipient has a long-term care insurance
policy, find out if it enables you to receive payments and what requirements
or certifications you would need to receive payments. You may also be able to
claim the care recipient as a dependent for tax purposes.
8. Remember patience. Caregiving takes patience, both in being realistic about
what you as the caregiver can do, and in communicating with and assisting the
care recipient. Relationships often change when the need for caregiving arises-from adult children reversing roles
with their aging parents, to shifts in roles between spouses or partners.
Patience is even more important when the care recipient has any cognitive
Additional tips and resources can be found in nonprofit Transamerica
Guide for Caregivers.” This free guidebook provides tools for assessing
when care is needed, suggestions for planning for care and navigating health
insurance coverage, possible options for financial support for caregivers,
and ways to care for the caregiver. It can be downloaded at www.transamericainstitute.org/caregivers-research.
Transamerica Institute conducted the survey of more than 3,000
nonprofessional caregivers in 2017. Full survey results and additional
materials are available at www.transamericainstitute.org/caregivers-research.
Transamerica Institute is a nonprofit, private foundation.
“Tips and resources for caregivers can be
found in nonprofit Transamerica Institute’s free “Comprehensive Guide for
Caregivers.” It provides tools for navigating health insurance coverage and
possible options for financial support for caregivers. http://bit.ly/2RbzH9q”
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)