Guest post by Rick Lauber
We don’t always think about those who help others requiring help themselves. Caregivers – or those who help tend to the needs of aging parents, friends, spouses or partners – certainly fall into this category. As a former co-caregiver for both of my senior parents (Mom had Leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease), I know full well that caregiving can become an all-encompassing task … one is kept running day and night with everything that needs to be done. It is imperative that caregivers find and utilize outside help themselves – this is not a job to tackle independently.
With completely focusing their time, energy and resources on a loved one, it is little surprise that caregivers often overlook their own needs. Caregivers will easily ignore signs of frustration and/or exhaustion (just two of the symptoms experienced by caregivers) and keep going.
Just one important resource – specifically for the caregiver – is the Alberta Caregivers Association (ACGA) which offers numerous programs of value. These include Compass for the Caregiver, numerous Community Caregiving groups, Caregiver Information Sessions, an in-house Caregiver Advisor and so on. Through these programs, caregivers can learn, share and take respite from their significant work. It is also important to state that many of the ACGA’s office staff and Board of Directors’ members are, or have been, caregivers themselves so they will truly understand what others are enduring. With the essential work the ACGA continues to do with caregivers throughout our province, we thought it was only fitting to recognize and support them in return as one of our two selected charities with this year’s book sale and silent auction.
To learn more about the ACGA, please visit http://www.albertacaregivers.org/about.
Rick Lauber is the author of Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians (published by Self-Counsel Press and now in its second edition). Rick’s book is a valuable tool for prospective, new and current caregivers alike; it discusses relevant issues for caregivers, explains what to expect and recommends resources. Rick is also an established freelance writer; his work has appeared in Canadian Living, EverythingZoomer.com, Edmontonians, The Edmonton Senior, The Caregiver Space and The Edmonton Journal. For more about Rick’s book, please visit www.caregiversguideforcanadians.com.