Monday, November 10, 2008

National Caregivers Month: Helpful Hints

In the past month, Metlife Mature Market Institute, in collaboration with the National Alliance on Caregiving, has released six "Helpful Hints" publications, aimed at providing useful information to caregivers. These brief bulletins offer tips on common issues for caregivers, ranging from how to select an assisted living facility to how to advocate for a loved one in a healthcare situation.

Helpful Hints: Choosing an Assisted Living Facility: As a caregiver, you may be interested in exploring assisted living facilities as an option for your loved one instead of using in-home care. Assisted living facilities can provide your loved one with 24 hour medical care and a wide variety of social activities. Metlife offers 8 key considerations to take into account when you are selecting an assisted living facility as well as a variety of outside resources to help you with your decision.

Helpful Hints: If Care is Needed at Home: Paid care is another option for family caregivers who want to supplement the in-home care they are providing and offer their loved one the option of remaining in his or her home. This bulletin has advice on how to select an in-home caregiver as well as ways to monitor care and intervene if a problem arises.

Helpful Hints: Caregiving from a Distance: As a caregiver, you may not always be able to provide care directly in the home, or even directly in the same state as your loved one. That's why Metlife and NAC have come up with these tips and resources for caregivers who provide care from a distance. Their list of eight key considerations includes advice on how to develop an emergency response system, a list of important documents you may need, and several resources to help you develop a care plan.

Helpful Hints: Caregiving and Alzheimers Disease: Alzheimers introduces a host of new challenges for caregivers. This publication highlights ways you can improve your communication as a caregiver if you are providing care for a loved one with alzheimers. Tips include ways to communicate with your loved one as well as ways to improve communication with the other members of your caregiving team.

Helpful Hints: Advocating for a Family Member in a Healthcare Situation: Acting as an advocate for your loved one during healthcare situations can be a particularly frustrating, but profoundly important, component of being a caregiver. Metlife offers 10 tips for caregivers to help them become more effective and communicative advocates for their loved ones.

Helpful Hints: Choosing an Adult Day Center: You may want a long term care plan for your loved one that offers a middle ground between in home care and assisted living. One alternative is an adult day center. Adult day centers can provide your loved one with social stimulation as well as healthcare services while offering you daily time away from your caregiving responsibilities. This publication offers information on the different varieties of adult day centers as well as advice on how to choose one that will work best for you and your loved one.

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