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Caregiving can be rewarding

The goal of caregiving is to help someone maintain an independent lifestyle as long as possible. The best way to achieve this is to be well-prepared and well-informed.
/DHS/spwpd/abuse/images/caregiver.jpgBeing a successful caregiver means finding a balance between providing care and helping the care receiver to be as independent as possible. There are many training and professional development resources available to help caregivers achieve this goal.
Whether you're an informal caregiver caring for a relative, or a professional caregiver - all caregivers share certain experiences. The caregiver is one of the most important people in the life of the care receiver and making sure the caregiver has resources at hand to succeed and to take care of their own health is important.
DHS has several ways to help caregivers achieve success.

Caregivers and Elder Abuse

Researchers have estimated most elder abuse is related to the stresses associated with providing care. Some stress is normal and taking care of the caregiver is just as important as the service they provide. Reducing the risk of elder abuse by caregivers will require the efforts of caregivers, agencies and the community. Here are some ways everyone can help.
Caregivers can:
  • Get help. Making use of social and support services, including support groups, respite care, home delivered meals, adult day care and assessment services can reduce the stress associated with abuse.
  • Learn to recognize their "triggers," those factors that cause them the greatest stress or anxiety.
  • Learn to recognize and understand the causes of difficult behaviors and techniques for handling them more efficiently.
  • Develop relationships with other caregivers. Caregivers with strong emotional support from other caregivers are less likely to report stress or to fear they will become abusive.
  • Get healthy. Exercise, relaxation, good nutrition and adequate rest have been shown to reduce stress and help caregivers cope.
  • Plan for the future. Careful planning can relieve stress by reducing uncertainty, preserving resources and preventing crises.
Concerned citizens can:
  • Lend a hand to a caregiver that needs help.
  • Report abuse. The Department of Human Services is the agency that accepts and investigates reports. Look in the city or county government section of your telephone directory under "Aging Services" or "Social Services" or contact your local office
  • Advocate for public policy to increase the supply and scope of services available to caregivers.
  • Volunteer. Volunteers can make friendly visits, serve as guardians or bill payers, or provide respite care.
  • Arrange to have speakers make presentations on caregiving at churches, clubs or civic organizations.