By: Mei Kameda, Program Coordinator, Keiro
Back in September, I posted a blog where readers could find out if they are considered “family caregivers.” There’s always a misconception about what it really means to be a family caregiver. Family caregivers are anyone (relatives, friends or even neighbors) who provide any type of physical and/or emotional care for someone who needs assistance – and importantly, they are also unpaid.
November is Family Caregiver Awareness Month – according to the Caregiver Action Network, this year’s National Family Caregivers Month theme is “RESPITE: Care for Caregivers.”1
What does “Respite” mean?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Respite is “an interval of rest or relief.”2 Respite is a chance for family caregivers to take a breath – and an opportunity to re-energize through this challenging time as a caregiver. Most caregivers who I meet (including my own family members) have a “to-do list” that they want to accomplish. It is VERY important to understand that taking respite is one of the most important items on your caregiving to-do list. Why? Because caregivers are very loving, giving, and genuine people who care very much about their loved ones – but since they are so caring, sometimes they forget to care for themselves. Some may argue that having a respite is a luxury. However, many caregivers are at risk for stress-related health conditions, and there have been cases of caregivers who lost their own lives due to the stress of caregiving.
How can I get respite?
If you live in Los Angeles County, I suggest taking advantage of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center, where they have information, resources, support groups, caregiver education and training, legal and financial support services, counseling/wellness services – and respite services for family caregivers.
You can reach the USC Family Caregiver Support Center at 855.USC.6060 or visit their website at www.fcscgero.org
If you live in Orange County, I recommend contacting the Orange Caregiver Resource Center (a program of St. Jude Medical Center). They too have resources, family consultation, support groups, respite assistance, education, counseling, legal services, multicultural services, and much more.
You can reach the Orange Caregiver Resource Center at 800.543.8312 or at www.caregiveroc.org
Remember that RESPITE protects family caregivers from BURN-OUT – which is something that we do not want for family caregivers. If we take care of ourselves, then we can appropriately serve and continue to care for our loved ones.
Keiro is also supporting family caregivers in our community! We have a 6-week course called Powerful Tools for Caregivers, which is an evidence-based program developed by Kate Lorig of Stanford University. This course gives family caregivers the appropriate tools that they can use to better manage their stress and also to mention about the importance of “self-care.” If you are interested in this course, you must be a current family caregiver. Please visit our website at www.keiro.org to find out if a course is offered near you!
Keiro hosts an annual Genki Conference: Caregiver’s Edition as well. We offered one back in July at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center where we had over 200 attendees! We will be offering more Caregiver’s Conferences in the future so if you are interested, please sign up on our mailing list to get the latest information about upcoming events!
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