A caregiver may help prepare meals, pay bills, do personal care, manage medications, and assist with, or make, major life decisions. If you are a caregiver, there are many community services available to help you gain confidence and cope with new responsibilities. These resources will help you examine options, create a plan for caregiving tasks and maintain balance in your life.
• Family Meetings
A “family meeting” is a chance for spouses, children, and others involved to discuss the care of an older family member. A family meeting respects the older adult and his or her wishes and decisions. Consider using a professional (social worker, caregiver consultant, or clergy member) to facilitate a meeting. This expert will help you identify needs, share responsibilities, work through conflict, and help to develop a plan that will serve both the person you care for and everyone involved.
• Caregiver Support Groups
Support groups for caregivers offer a variety of things including education, community resources, emotional support, and networking. Most groups meet in-person but some are held via phone conferencing.
• Memory Cafés
The term Memory Café is used to designate a social gathering place for both the caregiver and their loved one. It is a welcoming place for individuals with Alzheimer’s, any type of dementia, or mild cognitive impairment. It is a safe, comfortable, and engaging environment for socializing, listening to music, playing games, or any variety of stimulating activities.
A caregiver consultant can help you maintain life balance, learn new skills, and gain confidence and stamina for providing care. In our CMCOA region you can work with consultants that are trained to coach you in Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health (REACH). This nationally proven support, education, and skills-building consultation is for family members and others caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
• Caregiver Education
Education available to caregivers includes training on managing your risk factors, (e.g. stress and depression), family dynamics, managing difficult behaviors, and navigating health and long-term care systems. You’ll gain knowledge needed to make decisions, solve problems, and feel more confident with your caregiving role. One caregiver education program, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, is available throughout Minnesota.