Finding Caregiver Support When It’s Hard To Leave Your Home
March 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
A common theme that we stress in this blog is the importance of caregiver support. Caregivers spend so much of their time worrying and tending to their elderly loved ones that they often neglect their own health and well being. The consequences can be relatively small, like simple burnout; or devastating like severe illness or even untimely death. We don’t want to scare you, but it is of the utmost importance that caregivers make sure they are taking care of themselves as well as their loved one.
Support can come in many different ways: respite care from professional or community sources; talk therapy; days off provided by another family member; or even social media websites including Facebook, blogs and other online forums. The growth in online support groups reflects the popularity of social media sites among those over 50. According to Facebook, there are more than 50 million American members who are over 50 and it is one of the fastest growing demographics on the site.
The internet proves to be an easy tool for caregivers to use because they spend many hours/days homebound due to their caregiving duties. Specialty online forums can be consoling because it gives people a chance to share concerns and knowledge with peers that are experiencing similar situations. And sites like Facebook or Twitter give users the chance to connect with family and friends that they may otherwise not have been in communication with. Just receiving a “Like” or comment from even a distant relative can be uplifting if the caregiver is having a challenging day.
Vicki Rackner, M.D., author of, Caregiving Without Regrets: 3 Steps to Avoid Burnout and Manage Disappointment, Guilt and Anger says, “Unfortunately, caregiving is so time-consuming that people often find themselves isolated and disconnected from even their closest confidants. I believe social media is a great way for caregivers to remedy this situation. Social networking sites can help a caregiver maintain their relationships with their family and friends, while forging new alliances with their peers who are taking care of elderly loved ones of their own.”
There is, however, a downside to being active on social media sites, and that is coming into contact with people you would rather not communicate with. Scam artists are prevalent throughout the internet and social media sites are no different. Be leery of becoming friends with anyone that isn’t already friends with someone you know. Don’t click on any questionable links to pictures or articles.
It is also possible you will find some of your “friends” or “connections” are people you decide you don’t want to share with. We all know who those friends are. Maybe their posts are offensive or drama-filled or depressing. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself agitated when you see their posts, it may be a good time to either delete them from your network or hide them from your newsfeed. Luckily social media sites are very sophisticated and provide many tools so you can pick and choose the content you want to read.
The website agingcare.com also mentions two other helpful sites if you are a caregiver and you need more than just virtual support. “Websites like MealTrain and WhatFriendsDo allow caregivers to solicit help with preparing meals and doing chores. Users of these sites can set up calendars and lists of things that need to be done and then send requests for help to their friends and family.”
Whichever avenue you decide to pursue, finding caregiver support will be beneficial not only for you but for the loved one you are caring for. If need help finding support in your area, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Dawn M. Weekly, PC. The law firm is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients. Their office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334.