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November is National Family Caregivers Month: Are You a Family Caregiver?

November is National Family Caregivers Month:  Are You a Family Caregiver?

 

Are you one of the 62,100 individuals in North Dakota providing care to a spouse, relative or friend? 

 

A caregiver is someone who helps another with things he or she cannot do for themselves due to a serious medical condition or the aging process in general.  Caregiving can include things like transportation, housekeeping, grocery shopping, bill paying, handling personal care, managing legal or insurance matters or providing a place to live.  :  Jane Strommen, Gerontology Specialist with the NDSU Extension Service, reminds us there are several aspects to caregiving.

 

There are different kinds of caregivers:

  • Long-distance caregiver – these individuals look out for a loved one who lives in a different city, state, or country
  • Sandwich generation caregiver – men and women sandwich between taking care of their own children and taking care of one or more elderly parents
  • Spousal caregiver – these individuals find themselves taking care of a spouse with a serious illness
  • Working caregiver – adults in the workforce are faced with the dilemma of holding down a job and making sure a loved one is taken care of properly

 

Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be filled with enormous challenges, such as time commitment, competing demands, financial implications, and physical and mental stress.  Here are some common symptoms of caregiver stress:  depression, withdrawal, insomnia, trouble concentrating, anger, health issues, exhaustion, anxiety, drinking, smoking, and altered eating habits. Many caregivers have no idea what to do, how to do it, or where to get help.  This dilemma makes family caregivers vulnerable themselves. 

 

Check out these helpful resources:

 

For services and supports targeted for family caregivers: 

  • ND Family Caregiver Support Program is a system of support services for unpaid caregivers of older adults to help them continue to provide care in their homes and community through information, assistance, counseling, support groups and training.

https://www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/aging/fact-sheet-family-caregiver-support-program.pdf

 

  • 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. http://carechoice.nd.assistguide.net 

 

For reliable information on family caregiving issues:

 

For research on the status of family caregiver supports and services in North Dakota:

The ND Family Caregiver Supports and Services Study was conducted in 2016 to identify unmet needs of family caregivers, provide recommendations for better serving family caregivers and create a resource directory of services available to support family caregivers by county and region.

https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging/posts/nd-family-caregiver-supports-and-services-study

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