Most caregivers typically have a genuine desire to help people, along with lots of patience and compassion. The job is often physically demanding and emotionally taxing. Given all the complicated medical issues and day to day tasks, is there training available for caregivers?
Training can provide fresh ideas and new solutions, but according to a recent NY Times New Old Age blog article, sufficient training for caregivers is lacking. Susan Reinhard, senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, said there is "a huge gap," referring to an absence of available training in demanding caregiving tasks. Training that exists through local Agencies on Aging deals mostly with "activities of daily living", such as helping someone bathe, dress, eat, or use the bathroom -- not the demands of nursing-style care, Ms.Reinhard observed. That leaves the burden on caregivers to be assertive and ask for help or find out what training exists in their area.
These are some available caregiver training options:
- AARP has several free on-line seminars on family caregiving topics such as housing options, the basics of handling caregiving, providing the care, and planning for the care of aging parents. AARP has also prepared comprehensive materials for caregivers called "Next Step in Care." While the focus isn't on nursing-style caregiving tasks, three might be useful: a self-assessment tool for family caregivers, a medication management guide, and a guide to hospice and palliative care.
- Many home health-care companies, such as Five Star Home Health care, offer a 40 hour Caregiver class, where you can learn personal care assistance; home management; safety and accident prevention; infection control; and food, nutrition, meal preparation and how to help a loved one with activities of daily living like bathing and toileting.
- The American Red Cross offers a training manual for caregivers that has a DVD explaining the mechanics of transfers and a few other complicated tasks. Also, some videos are available for free at www.mmlearn.org, a Web site that says its mission is to provide caregivers with online training and education.
Caregiving can be rewarding, but it can also physically and emotionally demanding. The Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr advises that if you are a caregiver, don’t let your own needs or health take a back seat. Many caregivers are at the age when they are developing their own chronic issues. Be sure to take good care of the person you are caring for and yourself too! Part of doing so is planning for your future and for your loved one's future. Call the Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.