By: Mei Kameda, Program Coordinator, Keiro
If any of the following applies to you, check YES:
I take time off to take my family member to a doctor’s appointment.
I call a loved one who lives far away from me to make sure they are doing okay.
I take my mom, dad, grandparents, or other family members grocery shopping.
I assist my family member with questions about bills or products/services.
I help my family member with his/her finances.
I wake up at night worrying about my family member.
I remind my family member to take his/her medication(s).
I bring cooked meals for my family.
If you checked “yes” to any of the above statements, you are a family caregiver.
Surprisingly, there are many misconceptions about caregivers – many people do not like to “label” themselves as caregivers. But what does it really mean? According to womenshealth.gov, a caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need. Specifically, a “family caregiver” is someone who provides physical and/or emotional care for those who need the extra help.
We live in a world where we prefer not to label ourselves as caregivers because helping our loved ones is engraved in our culture – “I am not a caregiver but I am just ‘helping’ my mom and dad” is something we hear a lot. However, sometimes it’s beneficial to acknowledge our role as caregivers to enhance our caregiving experiences.
Caregiving can be stressful – (as a former caregiver, I know…trust me). It’s difficult and sometimes we don’t know what to do or if we’re doing the right thing. But it’s completely normal to feel that way. I think it shows that we are all human and it’s okay to have negative feelings such as doubt, guilt, and frustration. The best thing to do is to acknowledge those difficult feelings and then take action by asking yourself, “what can I do now to better manage my feelings?” A recent survey by the National Opinion Research Center found that 83% of caregivers viewed caregiving as being a positive experience. Does that mean that those caregivers did not have any negative feelings? That’s probably not the case – but I bet they were able to learn from both the positive and negative aspects of their caregiving experiences.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a course offered by Keiro. It is a 6-week course that meets for 90 minutes, once a week. It provides caregivers with an opportunity to sit down with fellow family caregivers to learn tools on how to manage stress, how to think about “self-care,” and most importantly to support one another through each of our caregiving experiences.
Check out AARP’s I ❤ Caregivers website to share your caregiving story – be inspired and inspire others!
About the Author:
Mei Kameda is the Program Coordinator at Keiro. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Science (option in Community Health Education) and a minor in Communication Studies. In her spare time, Mei enjoys going on runs, baking, and volunteering which are a few of the many activities that allow her to live her life on purpose.
The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. Full disclaimer