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October 30, 2018

The annual observance is a time to honor family caregivers across the country. This year’s theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock,” recognizing the challenges that family caregivers face and how they manage them day and night.

This special observance enables us to do the following:

  • raise awareness of family caregiver issues,

  • celebrate the efforts of family caregivers,

  • educate family caregivers about self-identification, and

  • increase support for family caregivers.“Caregiving can be a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week job,” states the Caregiver Action Network, which spearheads National Family Caregivers Month. “Providing care around the clock can crowd out other important areas of life.”

What challenges do family...

What is stress?

We live in a fast-paced culture where change, and the pressure to react and accept change quickly, is a constant fact of life. Stress is a normal reaction in our bodies to things that require us to modify our usual patterns of behavior. Stress heightens our awareness, makes us more alert and prepares us to deal with dangerous situations.

For most of us, becoming a caregiver to a person with kidney disease can be a stressful change. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.

While it may not be possible to avoid the stressful situation of being a caregiver to someone with renal disease, we can learn to cope with stress in a healthy way. All of us can learn to control the way we react to stress and change how...

October 24, 2017

With more than 60 percent of America’s 40 million family caregivers balancing their caregiving responsibilities with paid employment, there is a pressing need for employers to do more to support employees who are also caring for loved ones. In fact, according to a survey AARP conducted with the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), an overwhelming majority of the company benefit managers – 82% – say that family caregiving will become an increasingly important issue for their companies over the next five years. That is why AARP is partnering with NEGBH to help employers assess their company culture and develop strategies and policies to create a caregiver-friendly workplace.

In addition to time spent at the of...

What is stress?

We live in a fast-paced culture where change, and the pressure to react and accept change quickly, is a constant fact of life. Stress is a normal reaction in our bodies to things that require us to modify our usual patterns of behavior. Stress heightens our awareness, makes us more alert and prepares us to deal with dangerous situations.

For most of us, becoming a caregiver to a person with kidney disease can be a stressful change. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.

While it may not be possible to avoid the stressful situation of being a caregiver to someone with renal disease, we can learn to cope with stress in a healthy way. All of us can learn to control the way we react to stress and change...

February 22, 2017

Every single one of us — because we are alive and we are human — runs the risk that at some point in our lives something will happen to us, making it impossible for us to take care of ourselves.

This something can be any one in a long list of disabling events. A car accident, or a serious disease like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, or a developmental disability like cerebral palsy. Or it can just be the result of aging cells when we get old.

What is equally, if not more likely, is that someone in our family — a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, child or spouse — will be among the 10 to 12 million people at any point in time who need help. As a result, we’ll likely be drafted into service, joining the 4...

February 22, 2017

Caring for a loved one strains even the most resilient people. If you're a caregiver, take steps to preserve your own health and well-being.

Many caregivers fall into the trap of believing that they have to do everything by themselves. Don't make that mistake. Take advantage of the many resources and tools available to help you provide care for your loved one. Remember, if you don't take care of yourself you won't be able to care for anyone else.

As a caregiver, you may be so focused on your loved one that you don't realize that your own health and well-being are suffering. Watch for these signs of caregiver stress:

  • Feeling tired most of the time

  • Feeling overwhelmed and irritable

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • G...

  • February 17, 2017

    As a 24/7 caregiver for her mother, my 52-year-old patient — I'll call her Becca — gets little rest. At night, lying on the couch next to her mother's hospital bed, she is jolted awake by her mom's frequent cries of pain and confused conversation with people who aren't there. During the day, she catnaps fitfully in the chair next to her mother's recliner as the TV blares. Becca jokes that the bags under her eyes have bags.

    Many family caregivers, contending with their role's responsibilities and challenges, sleep even less than most — though it's so crucial to maintain your own health when you're caring for another. There are a few steps you can take to help yourself fall and stay asleep.

    Here are some ideas from our book AAR...

    February 17, 2017

    Prepare to Care in Five Steps

    Caring for a family member or close friend is one of the most important—and complicated—roles you’ll play. It can happen suddenly, with an accident or illness, or it may start with driving your loved one to get groceries or going to the doctor. Later, you may find yourself taking more time off from work, preparing meals or handling their finances.

    Whether you’re just beginning to anticipate a need or taking care of a family member full-time, this guide serves as a practical tool to make the process easier for both you and your loved one. It includes advice, resources and checklists to Start the Conversation.  The right time to talk about the future is now—even if it’s uncomfortable. Ask your loved one...

    February 17, 2017

    Don't let your own health fail while caring for others.

    Make caring for yourself a priority.  

    When caregivers are on call around the clock, they are often so selfless in their care of a loved one that they neglect to take care of themselves.

    Did you know caregivers have a higher-than-normal incidence of getting sick? They can become so depleted that they cannot maintain the stamina to continue caring for others. Don't let this happen to you. Follow these 10 tips to nurture yourself physically, mentally and spiritually every day, even when you are at the bedside of another. Following these tips will help you find the health and happiness you deserve. And when you take care of yourself, you can care for your loved one even...

    February 17, 2017

    When you're starting out as a family caregiver, it's hard to know where to begin. Perhaps you've only recently realized that a loved one needs assistance, and is no longer as self-sufficient as he or she once was. Or perhaps there has been a sudden change in a loved one's health.

    Now it's time to take action, and take stock of the people, services and information that will help you care for your loved one. The earlier you find support, the better.

    Step 1


    Start with a diagnosis. If your loved one is forgetful at times or has gone through a noticeable personality change, take him or her to a neurologist or diagnostic clinic. A thorough evaluation will rule out any reversible causes of dementia symptoms, such as depression, nutrition...

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