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Caregiving Fundamentals

According to the Alzheimer's Registery Report, 11% of South Carolinians over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with Dementia. That staggering statistic also comes with another consideration, how many individuals are out there trying to give their loved ones suffering from dementia the best care possible? Any chronic illness care is daunting, but with the right tools can be easier to manage. Whether you care for a parent or senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia/chronic illness, the right tools are crucial.

In order to start giving the best care possible, a solid base in dementia education or other chronic illness is valuable. The more educated you are, the higher level of preparedness you have to deal with the challenges that both you and your loved one will face. For dementia, there are both national (Alzheimer's Association) and local (The ARK of South Carolina) organizations that offer free resources and tons of helpful information.

In addition to a proper education, you will need support from other trusted friends, family, or support groups. Support groups allow caregivers to vent in a group setting with people who understand what you're going through. It also allows caregivers to hear what is working for others in similar situations.

Accepting support allows you to become more empathetic to both yourself and the person you're caring for. A crucial part of being a caregiver is practicing empathy often toward your loved one by reminding yourself how you would feel with the same ups and downs of their chronic illness. Empathy can be difficult to feel and express if you're not accepting help and support from others.

Another important piece of being a caregiver is boundaries. It can be mentally, emotionally and even physically draining to be a caregiver 24/7. You need to be able to take breaks from your caregiver role and make your own health and wellness a priority. The old quote, "Before you assist others, always put your oxygen mask on first" is true and important to remember. You cannot provide proper care if you're not taking care of yourself first.

The Ark of South Carolina understands what it's like to be a caregiver. Which is why they have launched a COVID-19 conscious online educational program that is designed to help family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a relative or friend who has dementia, or any other chronic illness. All caregivers will benefit from this class. No matter if you're helping a parent, spouse, or friend who lives at home, in a nursing home, or across the country, the program covers your unique situation.

Registration is now open for the FREE Powerful Tools for Caregivers Telehealth PTC. Classes meet weekly on Tuesdays for six weeks beginning January 19, 2021. Caregivers must have their own computer with a webcam, microphone, and internet access to be able to participate.

To register, please contact Jan Hyatt by telephone: 843-471-1360; or, 843-822-4703.

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