Caregivers Take Care

Caregiving can be very stressful and demanding. In the case of a healthy spouse or a child living with a disabled person at home, caregiving can be a 24 hour, 7 day a week commitment. But even for the caregiver not living in the home, looking after a loved-one or friend can consume all of the caregiver’s free time.

Surveys and studies consistently show that depression is a major problem with full-time informal caregivers. This is typically brought on by stress and fatigue as well as social isolation from family and friends. If allowed to go on too long, the caregiver can sometimes break down and may end up needing long-term care as well.

Since most people go into informal caregiving without training or counseling they often aren’t aware of the possible outcome. It is therefore extremely important to receive counseling and to formulate a plan of action prior to making a caregiving commitment. In 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act which provides guidance and funding to the States to give help to caregivers. All states offer programs at no cost or very low cost which might include: counseling, caregiver training, respite care, adult day care, meals, support groups and much, much more.

For example, one such resource that is readily available is to join a support group.  The Department of Family Services’ Fairfax Area Agency on Aging has put together a useful flyer that highlights some of the support groups available for caregivers in Fairfax County.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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