As featured in North Hawaii News March 31, 2015
Many family caregivers step into their role with the best of intentions and willingly make sacrifices for their adult loved one in order to do the right thing. Something that often gets overlooked is the importance of educating oneself for such an undertaking. There are usually cognitive and physical changes happening that need to be understood in order to have a successful caregiving experience.
Caregiving is a professional industry of its own. The different aspects of meeting someone’s needs through mind, body and spirit requires years of education through schooling and work experience. When you are a family caregiver, time is of the essence and condensed education is your best form of sanity.
When someone is new to caregiving I usually encourage them to reach out to their most local Area Agency on Aging as a first step. The (federal) Administration on Aging funds (state) Executive Offices on Aging which in turn fund (county) Area Agencies on Aging.
Our county Area Agency on Aging is in Hilo, with a satellite office in Kona, and is under the name HCOA for Hawaii County Office of Aging. The value of having this program is that Federal, State and County funds are utilized to support the services that assist family caregivers right here in North Hawaii.
One such service that is a great opportunity for caregivers is coming up at Tutu’s House on April 28. “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” is a free, six-week program that will empower you to make educated decisions as you create your own caregiving experience. It will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and, if needed, I would like to offer my day center program to assist those of you who will be attending.
I highly recommend that you contact Judy Bell at 322-0056 to reserve your space now, as they have a limited number of students. For those of you who are unable to attend, the course utilizes “The Caregiver Helpbook” which you can purchase online. It was created specifically for this class and is given out for free to those who attend the course.
The manner in which we treat those we care for is a reflection of not only who we are, but how much we have invested in our service. The more informed you are, the more positive of a caregiving experience you are likely to have.
The memories that will remain long after your caregiving experience has come to a close are well worth the time and effort involved in expanding your mind. I wish you the best in your caregiving endeavors.