Support for caregivers, November is National Caregivers Month

A caregiver is anyone who provides assistance with everyday tasks to an individual who cannot care for him or herself.  This may be an aging relative, a spouse or partner, or a disabled child. The job of caregiving has many rewards. 

“Being present for a loved one may be especially appealing because it aligns with one’s core value,” says Karen Semenuk, a counselor at the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. “And providing care requires time, energy, patience, and fortitude.   Unfortunately, in many cases, the caregiving journey may be long, increasingly demanding, stressful and emotionally taxing.”

The nature of care can vary greatly as situations, personalities, and resources will be unique to individuals.  However, common concerns include:

  • Lack of “down time” 
  • Balancing multiple roles/relationships (children, partner, work)
  • Changes in the person being cared for (cognitive difficulty, personality changes, new physical limits, etc.)
  • Economic strain
  • Difficult decisions about the nature of care and best interest of loved ones

“Signs of Caregiver stress may include:  depression, irritability, denial, anxiety/excessive worry, fatigue, withdrawal from activities, physical symptoms and health problems, and lowed emotional tolerance,” adds Semenuk.  “It is important for caregivers to recognize the impact to them and heed signs that they may be strained, pushing too hard or ignoring their own needs.”

November is National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month with the theme “Take Care to Give Care.” This theme emphasizes how self- care is key to navigating the role of caregiver. The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP) facilitates a monthly Support Group for Caregivers. To join the monthly ongoing Stress Relief for Caregivers Support Groups, see details below:

When:  Second Tuesday of each month, now until May 10, 2017, in the Administrative Services Bldg., Room 2072L East & West
Time: 11:45 am to 1:00 pm
Register: Contact Tina at 936-8660 or via email at cmwey@umich.edu