Caring for a loved one can be a difficult job. You may have a range of
responsibilities that can often feel overwhelming, and it can take a serious
toll on your own health and well-being. Washington Hospital has launched
a new Family Caregiver Education Series that can give you the information
and strategies you need to cope while providing the quality care your
loved one deserves.
Caregiving comes in many forms. You could be taking care of someone with
a chronic disease, dementia, or other disabling condition. Maybe it’s
an aging parent or spouse. There are many reasons you might be providing
care to someone you know, which could include everything from shopping
and household chores to providing assistance with all the daily tasks
of living, including dressing, bathing, and eating, as well as managing
medical care and legal affairs.
“As a caregiver, you want to be there for your loved one, but sometimes
it can be challenging,” said Lucy Hernandez, community outreach
project manager at Washington Hospital. “The Family Caregiver Education
Series covers a range of issues that are common among those who are caring
for someone. It’s a comprehensive program and caregivers are encouraged
to attend all the sessions. But that’s not required. You can choose
the sessions that work best for you.”
The free six-week series will be held Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m.
beginning on August 4. Subsequent sessions are scheduled for August 11,
18, and 25, September 1 and 10. They will be held at the Conrad E. Anderson,
M.D. Auditorium, 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West), in Fremont. You
can register online at www.whhs.com/events or by calling (800) 963-7070.
Taking Care of the Caregiver.
The first session will focus on self-care so you can stay healthy and
able to care for your loved one. Caregiving can be both physically and
emotionally demanding, so it’s important that you take good care
of yourself. “If you don’t make sure you get what you need,
like enough sleep, proper nutrition, and a break once in a while, you
put your own health at risk,” Hernandez said.
Advocacy for Caregivers.
Many caregivers also have to advocate for their loved ones when it comes
to health matters and other issues. This session will help you learn to
navigate the medical system and work with health care professionals.
Day to Day Aspects of Caregiving. The third session covers some of the issues that arise on a daily basis.
This could include managing medications and eating schedules or when it’s
time for a loved one to stop daily activities like driving.
Managing Family Dynamics. Family members don’t always agree on the care your loved one should
be receiving and negotiating some of these differences can be tough. The
fourth session tackles the issue of family dynamics.
Legal and Financial Affairs.
The fifth session is about handling legal and financial affairs. This
could include medical coverage, wills and trusts, and advance directives,
which state your loved ones wishes for medical care, including any life-sustaining
treatments, and who will make care decisions for them if they aren’t able.
“This session will help caregivers understand what their loved one’s
health care insurance covers and how these legal documents work,”
Hernandez said. “Legal matters can be intimidating.”
The final session will be a panel discussion that includes many of the
expert presenters. Attendees will have the opportunity to get their questions
answered and make sure they have all the tools they need to provide quality
care for their loved ones.
“We know there are many caregivers out there who could use this information
and support,” Hernandez added. “If they aren’t able
to attend all of the sessions, they can see them on InHealth.”
InHealth is Washington Hospital’s cable access channel on Comcast
78. It airs a variety of health and wellness programs produced by Washington
Hospital. You can also view InHealth online at www.whhs.com/inhealth.
For information about other programs and services at Washington Hospital
that can help improve your health and well-being, visit www.whhs.com.