Where to Turn When Your Caregiver Needs More Training
It’s common for your loved one’s needs to change over time. If you’re lucky, you have a trusted caregiver who really connects with your senior, understands his or her needs, and is responsive to your input and concerns. But even the best senior caregivers may need some guidance and direction when a new set of medical circumstances arises. Helping your caregiver understand changes in care, and giving them the tools to handle them, benefits the aging adult, the family, and the caregiver, too. There are resource organizations and private coaching options that allow a caregiver to grow in the job as needs change. Some are free; some may cost a nominal fee. It’s up to each family to assess training needs and the necessary support to help your senior caregiver perform at his or her best.
Here are several organizations that offer specific care information and instruction related to particular illnesses and conditions, as well as a few that provide more general education around aging disabilities and life changes.
The Alzheimer’s Association
The online portal for The Alzheimer’s Association provides a broad range of educational tools to help caregivers and families wrestling with the particular challenges of Alzheimer’s. From quality and safety care, dementia care training, and local chapter meet-ups, the Association is among the most reliable and trusted resources for families facing these extraordinary care challenges. Sharing these resources with your caregiver helps to set priorities, establish agreements on level of care, and clarify expectations for all involved. The association offers numerous caregiving training options via DVDs and online courses.
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation
This foundation provides online seminars for those living with and caring for people with Parkinson’s disease. There are several online resources, such as Caring for a Person with Late Stage Parkinson’s Disease, that may have relevant caregiver guidance while caring for anyone with serious physical disabilities.
The Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation distributes a free 442-page book with comprehensive information for individuals living with paralysis and their caregivers, as well as information on local programs. Their website features an extensive online “Quality of Life” program database where you can search by topic.
Engaging Alzheimer’s LLC
This private coaching organization educates hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, home care agencies, and adult day care centers about the disease. The coaches also help families and organizations to treat people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. http://engagingalzheimers.com/about/ The company also offers, “I Care,” an award-winning book by dementia coach Kerry Mills, of Engaging Alzheimer's LLC. I Care is a comprehensive handbook providing a greater understanding of how to manage the difficulties of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
The insight we gained from reviewing these resources highlights the similarity between the challenges facing a hired caregiver and those a family member must manage. These training resources may help a caregiver provide improved care for your loved one, but that’s not all. They may also serve to create meaningful conversation and connection between the two people closest to your situation: your caregiver and you.