Caregivers assist family members, friends and neighbors with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. It is a vital service that they provide for older adults and people with disabilities and it requires time, dedication and perseverance.
The level of care needed may and most likely will change over time. It is a journey of sorts and often a labor of love which may bring caregivers much joy but also undoubtedly many challenges both great and small.
It is important to recognize that the needs and concerns of both the care recipient and the caregiver must be addressed if the relationship is to remain healthy.
Knowledge, support, open dialogue and self-care will help the caregiving journey.
There are formal services and supports that could potentially complement what you provide as a caregiver. Services such as home delivered meals and transportation might help with the range of assistance needed. Refer to the Services and Supports section of My Place CT to explore the options.
Respite from caregiving responsibilities is often necessary for caregivers to maximize wellbeing and avoid burnout before it hinders their ability to provide care.
Respite is most effective when used early and regularly. Temporary breaks can be arranged by utilizing adult day services, in-home care or short-term stays in a care facility. Visit the in-home section to learn more about these services and supports. Caregivers can use this time in any way they deem best to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with others. Taking this time for self helps the wellbeing of the caregiver and in turn the person they assist moving forward.
National Family Caregiver Support Program: This program offers a range of services to support family caregivers such as short-term respite, home safety modifications and connecting caregivers with support groups.
Connecticut Statewide Respite Program: This program helps individuals with Alzheimer’s and other related disorders and their families with a variety of respite care services and supports.
Emotional support is often welcomed due to the stress and complex nature of caregiving. Talking to other caregivers and professionals can provide comfort and help generate new skills as you learn from and support each other.
The ways in which caregivers are able to connect with each other and with professionals has evolved to better meet their needs and preferences. Peer and professional support can be provided through various means such as:
Learn more: Visit 2-1-1 to find in-person support groups near you.
Increasingly, online communities are available to help caregivers connect with each other. There are many different types of groups ranging from those that are comprised of and facilitated by the person with a disability or illness and those for caregivers.
Note that this list of online communities is not an exhaustive list. Perform an Internet search if you don't find one that suits your particular needs.
The Goldstone Caregiver Center at Danbury Hospital is available to those who are the primary source of providing care for a family member or friend. It offers services, programs and amenities to address the holistic health of the caregiver. Go here to learn more about the Goldstone Center.
The Internet allows informal caregivers access to numerous online websites and educational guides they can use as a resource.
Websites are rich in timely information and supports and often serve as a source of connectivity for caregivers. Here are a few of the leading informational sites for caregivers:
Family and Medical Leave Act: When caregiving responsibilities become highly time consuming people may consider taking unpaid leave from work. Its important when contemplating such a decision that people understand their rights and both the Connecticut and federal law. Like employers in every state, Connecticut employers must comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave, with the right to reinstatement, for certain reasons. Employees who are covered by more than one of these laws are entitled to the rights set out in the most protective law.
Under both state and federal FMLA, employees can take leave to care for a family member who is diagnosed with a serious illness. Employees can take leave to care for a parent or parent-in-law, child or spouse. Visit the CT Department of Labor website to learn more about FMLA.
See the Legal section on My Place CT for other Legal Resources.
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