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Caregiver Contest Finalist Ramona: Support Groups

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/11/18  11:23 AM PST
Support Groups

Ramona O. is from Illinois, and was one of forty finalists chosen out of the over 1,000 entries to our “What Advice Would You Give to a Fellow Caregiver?” Contest. You can find our grand prize and runner up winners here.

What advice would you give a fellow caregiver?

My advice to caregivers: “Invest the time in learning as much as you can about your client.” You will become not only a caregiver who is “just doing a job,” but a caregiver who can find this important responsibility rewarding and feel a sense of accomplishment. Investing in learning as much as possible about your client will result in avoiding stress, burnout and frustration.

Yes, you should learn about your client’s likes and dislikes, a client’s daily routine or a client’s daily activities and family dynamics, but you should also learn about the client’s disease and ailments.  Basically, why is the client in need of a caregiver?

As a caregiver of my own mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s, I used to feel so overwhelmed because I could not understand why my mother would do the things she did. I was so busy cleaning up after her and trying to get her to do task that I believed she would benefit from and getting nowhere. I was really suffering from burnout. I would get  invited to attend support groups to learn more about Alzheimer’s but I was so tired and exhausted from taking care of my mother, plus all my other responsibilities at home, so I rejected attending support groups by responding, “I don’t have time.”

Fortunately and unfortunately, I had an accident that kept me from taking care of my mother completely for a little while.  During that time, I did attend a support group and learned so much about the dementia patient from the group and other reading material. What a wonderful investment of my time. I learned that the more I could understand and learn about her dementia the better understanding I had about her disease. I had a better perspective of why she would respond or not respond to certain stimuli. I learned what I could do to make her more comfortable and at ease, and therefore make my caring for her so much easier. I currently continue to attend a support group and continue to learn what I can on my own.

I believe that investing time in learning about your client will result in being a caregiver that truly finds the responsibility rewarding. You will get so much in return.

Click here to head to the contest home page and read more advice.

Finalists were selected by the Marketing Team at Shield HealthCare. Those finalists were submitted to a panel of independent judges who picked three grand prize winners and five runners up. The judges included: Sandra Mitchell, Award-winning KCAL 9 news anchor and breast cancer survivor, and the Landers family: actor and comedian David Landers (“Laverne & Shirley”) who is living with MS, his wife Kathy and his daughter Natalie (“The Middle”). Click here to learn more.


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