When we think of eldercare services, we often think of home health care, geriatric care, home-delivered meal services, and senior centers. But what about caregivers? As an essential part of the eldercare equation, caregivers should have eldercare services targeted to help them, too.
Recent research showed that eldercare services like individual counseling for caregivers and family counseling for caregivers and other family members can reduce caregiver depression. Other eldercare services such as caregiver classes have also been shown to be helpful. If you're a caregiver, you already know that you're at a higher risk for stress, anxiety, and related health problems. But do you know what these eldercare services entail? If you're not familiar with eldercare services like counseling and classes for caregivers, here's a little information for you.
In individual counseling, you spend time talking one-on-one with a mental health professional such as a Master's level counselor, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or psychologist. Different professionals use different approaches, but the goal of individual counseling is to help you express your thoughts and feelings in a safe setting and work toward goals that will help reduce any issues such as depression and help enhance your well-being.
Eldercare services that involve whole families might be just what you need if you're trying to coordinate caregiving responsibilities among siblings and other relatives. It's great to have multiple caregivers available, but this can also result in conflict or misunderstandings. Family counseling is also conducted by a mental health professional, but this time several family members meet with the counselor at once in order to resolve barriers to effective caregiving and to develop a plan for dividing tasks among caregivers.
Caregiver classes are becoming popular eldercare services because several caregivers can be reached at once and the format is more appealing to those who aren't comfortable with the idea of mental health services. These eldercare services gather groups of caregivers together and teach them about caregiving techniques using manuals, videos, and discussions.
Given the known benefit of these approaches, it seems logical to include them as eldercare services offered to any community. What do you think? Post a comment to this blog, and be sure to sign up for our RSS Feedto receive regular updates about new eldercare topics posted on EldercareABC.com.
-Carrie L. Hill, Ph.D