Local Caregiver Resources
By Paula Huffingham-Suhey
“Someday you will be glad you did this.” These are words caregivers hear again and again.
Accurate words? Probably. But do they help when the physical and emotional responsibilities are becoming more and more demanding? Probably not.
So what does the caregiver do? Is there help?
If one googles the words “caring for the caregiver in Northeast Florida,” there are 268,000 sites to search through. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs website offers a myriad of opportunities (http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/index.php). One can learn about the programs available and ways to fund them, about homecare, companionship and some of the legal complexities that are a part of the aging (and ultimately dying) process.
However, most of us want to actually communicate with a person about this.
The Caregiver Coalition of Northeast Florida is comprised of nine local
community-based nonprofit organizations that formed the Caregiver Coalition of Northeast Florida in 2010. Their mission is to promote awareness and knowledge of, sensitivity to and support for family caregiving in Northeast Florida. Along with Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, they host six “Caring for the Caregiver Family Workshops” at regionally directed locations. (http://www.mycaregiverconnection.org/).
Toula’s Tips is a weekly broadcast featuring Toula Wootan, who used to work as a social worker assisting elders and their caregivers. She is keenly aware of the responsibilities of a caregiver because she is one. She assists with the care of her elderly parents. Her radio show and offers advice, encouragement and resources for the caregiver. Toula invites listeners to call in with comments or questions and she connects the caller with an organization that will fit his/her needs (http://www.toulastipsforcaregivers.com/). You can also communicate with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ToulasTipsForCaregivers The show is on Saturdays on http://www.wbobradio.com or AM 600 at 11:00.
And then there are the very practical things one can do:
1) Laugh – and encourage the person you are caring for to laugh with you.
2) Rest – don’t sit when you can lie, don’t stand when you can sit.
3) Talk – to your siblings/friends/or a counselor. Share the little things that are getting on your “last nerve” and once they have left your lips, you will probably realize that it wasn’t really that big a deal.
4) Realize – the person you are caring for may not be able to communicate this, but he or she wants what’s best for you, too. When we recognize that our mental and emotional health reach a happier balance.
And that happier balance enhances the giving – and thus the living – of the one who is being cared for. And that is our ultimate goal.
photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net