St. Louis caregiver group offers tips to care for family or friend in need

Approximately 66% of family caregivers are women. More than 37% have children or grandchildren under 18 years old living with them.

Carol Daniel
May 17, 2019 - 2:13 am

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The National Alliance of Caregiving, along with the AARP, reports there are more 69 million people are providing care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend.

The founder of St. Louis-based ''At Home Care" Carlita Vasser says, whether you are a friend of family member, you can have a realistic conversation with the caregiver to help them accept that they can't do this alone.

"They need to understand that wearing themselves into the ground is defeating the purpose of caring for that loved one. They should consider who is going to be there to take care of mother or father if I'm not healthy." 

She says caregivers should take time for themselves if at all possible.

"Even going to the mailbox can give you some time to yourself," Vasser noted. "Just stay there for a few minutes to take a few deep breaths. That will help. And many assisted living homes provide respite care or short term stays which can give caregivers a break. Take advantage of those if you can."   

Vasser said even allowing someone to bring you lunch or dinner once a week will give you interaction with someone other than the person you are taking care of. 

"It's important for caregivers to understand that it's not your fault and to not feel obligated to be the sole provider of care for their loved one and to instead ask for help."         

And while 37% of caregivers also have children at home to care for as well, Vasser points out that most people would not work on their own cars so it's to realize you can't do it alone and to ask for support.

The Caregiver Action Network also suggests that caregivers watch out for signs of depression. learn how to effectively communicate with doctors, organize and update the medical and legal documents and give yourself credit for the job you are doing.

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