The family caregiver and the professional caregiver experience emotional and physical stressors that cannot be understood by any person who has never been a personal caregiver.
Assuming the responsibility of providing assistance with the daily living necessities for any adult, whether age 40 or 100, places a great demand on the caregiver. Family caregivers are often totally unprepared for what they experience. Many have no training, many suffer physical injury, pain, sleepless nights, and burnout within a very little time of assuming the role of the family caregiver. (Locally family caregivers can call the Schmieding Education Center at 479-751-3043 to learn about family caregiver training and support.)
Many who pursue a career as a professional caregiver are unaware of the emotional stress and the physical stressors that can result. A personal caregiver becomes attached to those they care for, yet they are often overwhelmed with the demands placed on them to care for multiple elders in a facility. Private caregivers experience more personal time with their clients, and with this they form very close personal relationships and can also experience great stress from the care environment, from the client family members, from the client’s physical and behavioral challenges, and from their personal lives – they often suffer due to the hours and demands on the personal caregiver. Wages for almost all caregivers are low. Unless the professional caregiver over extends themselves accepting long hours for more pay, most caregivers experience stress also to manage financially.
When the stress of caregiving becomes too much…
Caregivers, family and professional, very often find themselves overwhelmed, both emotionally and physically. Many have not had health insurance, many live as single parents or work as a professional caregiver while also providing care to a family member. Caregivers are people who have love and compassion for others, the adults and elderly who need assistance to enjoy a quality of life that we all wish for…. a daughter caring for her mother of father, a wife caring for her husband, a son who finds himself the sole caregiver and support for his father, a young woman who has trained to be a professional caregiver who finds herself caring for elders on a hall of 12-20 elders.
Interventions and resources to support caregivers
It is time that we recognize the emotional stress experienced by all caregivers, family and professional. Northwest Arkansas has long been ahead of the time in both training professional caregivers and providing support. The Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education, founded in the late 1990’s, created a state-of-the-art caregiver training program for both family and professional caregivers. They also have continuing education for all graduates, and now a support program for the professional caregiver (see the list of caregiver support resources).
What about all our professional care facilities – assisted living and skilled care facilities? All are mandated to provide in-services for continuing education. How many provide the caregiver specific support needed for these professionals to feel valued and supported through the daily stress they experience? Elder care is an industry, a business. The ‘worker bees’ of this business are the team of personal caregivers who work each hall, who work the shifts helping adults with all activities of daily living – toileting, bathing, eating, dressing, transferring from bed to chair – AND without those personal caregivers our adults and elders would go without a daily cheerful greeting, the caring and gentle hands helping them with daily tasks we cannot imagine, ALL their needs for personal care for comfort and an acceptable quality of life until death.
RESOURCES for emotional support and counseling –
In late May I received a call requesting a list of resources for support and counseling for caregivers who could not afford counseling. This request and the account of the event that led to this request resulted in the provision of this list of counseling resources in Northwest Arkansas for those with limited financial means to pay for supportive counseling. If an individual does now have health insurance, due to the AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, contact the web site of that insurance provider to find licensed professional counselors who are available through that health insurance provider.
Resources for support of the professional caregiver and the family caregiver in Northwest Arkansas who have limited financial means:
SUPPORTIVE SERVICES IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS
All are available at a sliding scale, no person is refused service due to inability to pay.
NW AR Crisis Hot Line – this service is available 24 hours a day by phone or on the web site. Call 1-888-CRISIS2 (1-888-274-7472) or ‘chat’ on the web at www.arcrisis.org.
COMMUNITY CLINIC NWA – Call 479-751-7417 and ask to make an appointment with the behavioral health clinic. Services are provided on a sliding scale, no one is denied service. Masters clinical interns are supervised by experienced clinicians, providing counseling services. 614 E. Emma, Springdale.
SAMARITAN CENTER – Call 479-636-4198. The Samaritan Center provides free counseling services provided by masters clinical interns, supervised by experienced clinicians. Counseling is offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 1211 W. Hudson Road, Rogers.
LIFE SOURCE – Call 479-521-9902. Counseling services are provided on a sliding scale with no one denied services due to inability to pay. Clinical interns, supervised by experienced clinicians, provide the counseling. Located at 602 S. School, Fayetteville.
OZARK GUIDANCE CENTER – Call 479-750-2020 to make an appointment for an intake assessment. You can also call Teresa at 725-5352 to learn about the cost, all services are offered on a sliding scale of 20% to 70% of the full cost for counseling. There are Ozark Guidance Centers in Bentonville, Huntsville, Springdale, Fayetteville, and Siloam Springs.
Paid Caregiver Support Group – This bi-monthly group is offered by the Schmieding Center in Springdale. It meets on the 1st Tuesday at Noon-1:00 p.m. and on the 3rd Tuesday at 5-6 p.m., located at 2422 N. Thompson, Springdale. Call 479-751-3043 for more information.
For any individual who has health insurance, link to the web site of your insurance company and find information regarding services covered. Mental health benefits will be listed with mental health approved providers. Your insurance company can direct you to a provider in your area.
This information was prepared by Sara Cain-Bartlett, LCSW, Geriatric Care Consultant. 479-466-0611. www.thecaresupport.com This resource list for mental health providers will be posted on the web site as a community resource list.