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Home for the Holidays

The holiday season is just around the corner and with it comes the joy of celebrating and re-connecting with family and friends. For some family members coming home for the holidays, it might bring new concerns and questions about how to help an aging parent or relative. Here is some helpful information:

Where can I get reliable information on caregiving?

Visit the eXtension’s Family Caregiving Resource area for research-based knowledge on family caregiving from land-grant universities.  http://www.extension.org/family_caregiving

At this web site you can access information and resources when answers are needed, regardless of the time of day or your location. It offers answers to frequently asked questions, articles on caregiving topics, learning opportunities through online learning activities and state-specific family caregiver demographic fact sheets.

Where can I find help for my parents or relatives?

The North Dakota Aging & Disability Resource – LINK connects older adults and people with disabilities to care options that can help them live as independently as possible and maintain their quality of life.  Caregivers, family members, professionals and others are encouraged to explore this website or contact the Resource-LINK to see what services and supports are available in their community. The website is:  http://carechoice.nd.assistguide.net 

You can contact the Resource-LINK by phone Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time Zone at 1-855-462-5465.  The Resource-LINK services are free and confidential and provided by the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

How can I be a good caregiver from a distance?

Being a long-distance caregiver has special challenges. Here are a few good tips:

  • Learn as much as possible about medical conditions, treatments and resources.
  • Plan your visits by prioritizing what your family member would like to do and what the primary caregiver needs help with so you have realistic goals for your visit.
  • Keep your family member the focus of your trip and make time for fun things unrelated to caregiving.
  • Stay in touch with family and primary caregivers through phone calls and emails.

For more information, order a free booklet, “So Far Away: Twenty Questions and Answers About Long-Distance Caregiving,” by calling (800) 222-2225 or visiting www.nia.nih.gov/, the National Institute on Aging’s website.  

For more information on caregiving, contact me at jane.strommen@ndsu.edu or 701-231-5948.

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