Caregivers and their Needs

According the American Psychiatric Association (APA), November is National Family Caregivers Month. If you are one of the millions of people who act as a caregiver for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age, it is important for you to exercise self-care.  Often the role of being a caregiver can come upon you unexpectedly and it can make you feel overwhelmed and out of your depth. Our job is to determine the best legal options to protect your loved ones and handle any legal issue or complexities that arise and yours is to take care of yourself and your needs.

Generally, friends and family will think to ask you about your elderly parent or disabled spouse, but they do not think to ask how you are handling the burden. There is a recent movement among medical professionals to address this very real issue. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled Caregiver Burden, A Clinical Review, finds that those who are caregivers can often suffer from depression, social isolation, financial stress, anxiety and anger about their lack of choice in being thrust into the role of caregiver. The objective of this article is educated and enable medical professionals identify those who have “caregiver burden.”  The medical providers are encouraged to provide strategies to assess and intervene which suggestions specifically tailored to each unique situation. If you feel as though you are suffering from “caregiver burden”, we encourage you talk to your doctor as he or she may be able to help navigate this stressful and difficult time in your life.

As we handle your legal issues, remember not to over extend yourself. Eat, hydrate and get enough rest. Most importantly, communicate your needs to others by asking and accepting help and respite. There are many wonderful support networks available to you as a caregiver. We suggest looking at the following programs to help you decide which suits your needs and to help you remember that you are not alone.

Source: Ronald D. Adelman, MD, Caregiver Burden, A Clinical Review, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 311; No.10 (March 12, 2014).

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