Care for the Caregivers

Care for the Caregivers

Taking care of someone with an illness, whether it’s a mental or physical one, can feel overwhelming at times. At North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, we recognize the stress that comes with the role of caregiver, and we run several support groups to help caregivers get the help they need.

Sometimes what’s needed most is just a safe place to talk about your feelings with others who can relate to what you are going through; other times, it’s getting more concrete help, like finding qualified professionals who can relieve some of the burden so you have time to take care of yourself, or learning about how to advocate for your child at school.

One of our programs, Caregiver Grandparent Respite and Support Program, or C-GRASP, offers help to grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren. With the assistance of other local entities, we provide them with a variety of services, including counseling, clothing, food, housing assistance and transportation.

“If a parent, grandparent or other caregiver has no time to spend on their own needs, they’re likely to have a much harder time dealing with the child or teen who may require a high level of supervision,” says Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of the Guidance Center. “We realize what a stressful situation this can be, and consider it part of our role to make sure that these caregivers have the support they need.”

Groups are a great source of help, he adds.  “We all need affirmation, support and understanding. In a group there is no need to put on airs or to pretend to be someone one is not in order to gain acceptance.”

And, of course, there are times when caregivers are nourished by solitude. “Such moments can generate creative expression—expression for no reason but to satisfy one’s soul,” says Malekoff. “Music, art or writing can provide much-needed respite from the daily stress of caregiving.”

Following are 10 tips provided by the Caregiver Action Network:

  1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

To learn more about our programs and services, call (516) 626-1971 or click here.