Green Acres Manor Residential Care Home, Kenwood, CA
9020 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452    |    Phone: (707) 833-1171    |    Fax: (707) 833-2341    |    License #496801812

When you are an Elder Care Giver

Help for Sonoma County Caregivers

Often times, it is possible for an elder person to stay in their own home or to move into your home. As we have discussed in our previous articles, the first step will be to determine what types of assistance your loved one will need to accomplish the tasks of daily living. If professional types of in-home elder care are needed, our article on screening in-home elder care providers in Sonoma County, California will help you to choose the very best help you can get for the elder person in your life. It may be that you will be providing most of the care with paid assistance forming only a small part of your care plan, or work schedules may make it necessary for your loved one to enroll in an adult day program as well as having a health aide or registered nurse pay nightly visits.

Whatever arrangements your family eventually comes to in order to take care of the needs of the elder family member, this change in the basic structure of family life is almost never an easy one to make. One of the challenges in watching our parents or relations age is that it involves a complete turnaround in the way that we have to view the person who needs assistance. At one time, this person may have been the one taking 24 hour care of you. Watching an individual who was once competent to perform all of life's daily tasks losing their physical strength or health may cause us to feel fear, depression, or anxiety. These are normal responses, but if you find yourself being overwhelmed by such feelings so that you become unable to attend to the necessities of your own life, you may wish to consider seeking some counseling to help you regain your feelings of empowerment in the midst of these considerable life changes. Counseling may also be a truly helpful idea for the elder person who may be feeling even more afraid, depressed, or frustrated with life than you are.

Caregivers need to take care of themselves
According to a well-written article featured on the website of the Family Caregiver Alliance, which serves as America's National Center on Caregiving, in the effort to provide the best possible care for a family member or friend, caregivers often sacrifice their own physical and emotional needs, and the emotional and physical experiences involved with providing care can strain even the most capable person. The article goes on to explain how anger, sadness, exhaustion, and feelings of isolation can result, and that these feelings may be followed by guilt. Though everyone experiences all of these feelings from time to time, if they become constant or intense, this may be a warning sign that you, the caregiver, are suffering from depression. Counseling, a healthy diet, exercise, and support from family and friends can help prevent depression from becoming deeply rooted.

It's important for you to know that research suggests that those who care for loved ones with dementia are twice as likely to suffer from depression as those who are caring for a person without dementia. Because the needs of dementia sufferers can be extreme, missed work, physical exhaustion, family conflicts, and loss of personal time may result. Symptoms of dementia such as wandering, restlessness, and inappropriate behavior can add a great deal of stress to the daily life of the caregiver. If you feel you may be suffering from depression, we recommend a complete read of the Family Caregiver Alliance's article, Caregiving and Depression.

Whether you are caring for a loved one who has a progressive brain disorder such as Alzheimer's, or other reasons have made it essential that the elder person receives assistance, chances are you will need to educate yourself regarding whatever the illnesses or challenges are that your loved one is facing. Your family doctor may be of assistance to you in this. A trip to the library or bookstore will certainly provide you with a wealth of educational reading material on various geriatric conditions, and the Internet has become a wonderful resource both for caregiver education and support. For we Bay Area residents, the VNA and Home Hospice of Northern California offers an ongoing support program for families and caregivers. Getting yourself the help and support that you need to be leading a peaceful and healthy life are going to be vital in order for you to offer the best care you can give to your loved one. Please do take a gander at the resources we've mentioned.

Financial concerns are very real
Emotional stress may be only one of the challenges facing caregivers. Becoming financially responsible for the total or partial care of your loved one can present genuine financial difficulties for many families. Paying professional housekeepers, homemakers, and registered nurses may suddenly become a part of your monthly budget. Sonoma County residents should know about a couple of local resources which may make quality care for the elder person in their life more affordable.

In-Home Support Services (IHSS) provides in-home care to local elders and disabled persons. You may call IHSS at (707) 565-5900 to schedule an appointment with a social worker who will visit your home to assess the needs of the person in question and to determine how many hours of care will be needed. 52% of the recipients of the IHSS program are seniors.

Another helpful resource for Sonoma County citizens is Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa. Catholic Charities offers various helpful programs, including an Alzheimer's Day Care/Respite program. This service provides respite as well as training and support for families and professional caregivers.

Sonoma County residents may also find a visit to the website of the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging to be useful when researching resources related to local elder care. The SOCOAAA is a branch of the Human Services department.

Facing the challenges of witnessing the declining health, or simply the natural aging process of a loved one can cause a caregiver to experience feelings of powerlessness. Fortunately for Sonoma County residents, many truly helpful resources are at our disposal. Educating yourself about what is available may be the very best thing you can do to gain confidence and peace of mind during this time of change.

Please visit our list of Elder Care Resources in Sonoma County, California for more information.

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9020 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452 | Phone: (707) 833-1171 | Fax: (707) 833-2341 | License #496801812
Green Acres Manor Residential Care Home, Kenwood, CA
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