Training is so important. With training, caregiving responsibilities can be so much more effective and easier to manage. As a caregiver, tasks may not seem as formidable with the understanding and experience of how to correctly and safely perform them.
Training comes in many forms. Hands-on training is always preferred. Why? Because there is a trained professional available to answer your questions and to watch you practice techniques. Tips and assistance can be given immediately to reinforce the learning. And, you are often able to meet other caregivers who are in your situation.
However, sometimes, hands-on training isn't practical. There are other forms. There are online videos, forums, and educational materials. There are manuals, books, CDs and DVDs available for purchase. And, there are caregiver handbooks and guides in various formats.
Regardless of which type of training you choose, any of them are preferred to no training at all. So, find what works for you.
Nationally, training has been developed by both for-profit and non-profit agencies to help provide caregivers with the skills that they need to both care for a family member successfully at home and to deal with the emotional realities of caregiving responsibilities. Some of the larger programs are identified below. Remember, there are other programs available, as well as video tapes and books. Many for-profit companies offer these trainings and products.
If you are interested in any type of caregiver training, contact your local Area Agency on Aging or caregiver specialist to find out what is available in your area. If cost is an issue, be sure to ask if "scholarships" or sliding fee scales are available to help. And remember, some training sessions are offered for free.
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The Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving has developed "an educational and support program designed to bring professional and family caregivers together to gain a better understanding of each other's perspectives and to help them with their caregiving tasks. Topics covered in this ten-hour workshop program include: What it means to be a caregiver; taking care of yourself; building cooperative relationships; preventing and solving problems; and accessing and developing resources." The Institute provides training to professionals so that they may offer this opportunity to caregivers in their area.
Mather LifeWays received a grant from the US Administration on Aging to test an educational program to enable family caregivers to better care for their older relatives with chronic illnesses by improving their own self-confidence and self-care. This educational program is based on the "Powerful Tools for Caregivers" program developed by Legacy Health System in Portland, Oregon. It is designed to teach family caregivers a set of self-care skills through a six-part course in groups of 12-15 people, based on weekly classes of two and one-half hours. Training is available to professionals nationwide so that they may offer this information locally. A "Caregiver Helpbook" is included.
AARP Prepare to Care
Includes information on how to get started, questions to ask and where to find basic resources. Don't be discouraged if you can't answer every question or fill in every blank. The important thing is to start the conversation in a way that works for you and your family.
Administration on Aging's Caregiver Handbook
"An online resource guide for the growing number of Americans who are caring for an older family member, adult child with disabilities, or older friend. This Guide provides information and a range of suggestions to make caregiving easier and more successful--whether you are the caregiver or the person who ensures that your family member or friend receives the best possible care from others. "
Aging Parents and Common Sense: A Practical Guide...
Over 60 pages of practical information on the financial, legal, emotional and lifestyle issues of caring for aging parents are available for download with this guide. The guide identifies dozens of resources for support and additional information.
The guide was developed by the AXA Foundation, Children of Aging Parents, and The National Alliance for Caregiving. It has received the Council on Foundations Wilmer Shields Rich Gold Award for Excellence.
|The National Institute on Aging has a family caregiver guide called "Caring for a Person With Alzheimer's Disease". Topics include: Understanding AD, Caring for a Person with AD, Caring for Yourself, When You Need Help, The Medical Side of AD, Coping With the Last Stages of AD, and more.|
The National Institute on Aging's Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center offers a number of other online publications to help you. Some of them are linked to below.
Acute Hospitalization and Alzheimer's Disease: A Special Kind of Care
Caring for a Person With Alzheimer's - Caregiver Guide
Choosing Services and Long-Term Care Facilities
Home Safety for People With Alzheimer'
Hospitalization Happens: A Guide to Hospital Visits for Individuals With Memory Loss
Duke Family Support Program's Tool Kit for Alzheimer's
Based on twenty years of experience, the Duke Family Support Program developed a resource designed for caregiver specialists and Information & Assistance professionals to help them help family caregivers of people with memory disorders. There is a section designed to allow the professionals to share helpful information with family caregivers. The link below takes you to that section.
Eldercare at Home
A wealth of online information has been developed by the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging. This online book was written to help caregivers make good decisions about caregiving and to provide specific detailed information on various problems and conditions with which a person needing care might be dealing. For each identified problem, they provide information on: what causes the problem, who is most likely to have the problem, when is the problem most likely to occur, what kinds of things can be done to help, and what are the goals in dealing with the problem. They also provide information to help you decide: when to call for help immediately, when to call for help during a doctor's office hours, what information to have ready when you call, and how to explain the problem to a doctor or other health care professional.
Handbook for Mortals
Growthhouse, in partnership with Americans for Better Care of the Dying, offers online excerpts from a "Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness". "The development team for the book included experts in many disciplines and used input from focus groups to ensure that the content was relevant and complete. ... The authors understand that readers must be empowered to live life on their own terms and find opportunities for growth even in the darkest of situations. ... Sensitive photographs, poetry, and anecdotes appear on almost every page, giving support and encouragement while conveying the reality of the subject matter. "
"Times of crisis or illness are not the time for major planning or decision making. It is important that difficult decisions have already been worked through in advance - so you can remain independent and in control as long as possible."
Help for Grandparent Caregivers Guide
This is a free guide on legal status and legal issues for grandparents and advocates in New York State. It was developed by the Grandparent Caregiver Law Center of The Brookdale Center on Aging of Hunter College in New York. Though the information was developed for New York, the information may transfer or at least offer pertinent questions to ask and explore.
Did You Know?
Medicare will pay for certain types of caregiver education when it's provided as part of a patient's medically necessary face-to-face visit.