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Wednesday, 13 January 2016 14:08

Caregivers need plenty of support, too

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It’s also important we recognize and support family members and friends of those who have mental health issues.
Many of these caregivers are stressed, isolated, burned out and overwhelmed.
This often affects their own mental health, as well as their physical, emotional and financial stability.
A caregiver is someone who assists a family member or friend living with challenges resulting from a disability, illness, or aging. They care for individuals of all ages and health conditions, at home or in a facility.
Caregivers include adult children of aging parents; a spouse of someone living with an illness such as cancer; the parents of a child with a disability; or a sibling of someone with a mental health issue. They also include young children, in-laws, extended family, friends and co-workers.
How can you help a family caregiver? Ask them how they’re doing, offer a listening ear, or give them a helping hand with a chore.
There are more than 600,000 caregivers in Alberta who provide 80-90 per cent of the care needed by family and friends who have long-term health conditions.
We recommend you refer family members to resources or organizations that support caregivers and their well-being.
We suggest the Caregiver Coalition of Southern Alberta based in the Medicine Hat region. They offer helpful resources through their website at www.caregivers southeastab.com.
If you are a caregiver, make it a resolution to focus on your own well-being. If you know of a caregiver, make it a resolution to make sure they receive the support they need.
Laurie Sutherland, Edmonton
(The writer is project co-ordinator, Alberta Caregivers Association)

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