Senior Information & Assistance

Reminder: November is National Family Caregiver month. So let's continue to look at these amazing folks who go about their daily lives taking care for loved ones - and hopefully, trying to also take care of themselves. We are only beginning to publicly recognize and support these caregivers who are expending countless time, and often running on an energy deficit, all in order to meet the need.

The paper has been running a series of articles on grandparents raising grandchildren, another area of family taking care of family. The Olympic Area Agency on Aging also has information and resources for this type of caregiving, and for this, please contact Debbie Cool at (360) 590-0191. Family caregivers of seniors may also contact Debbie who is our Family Caregiver Support Service coordinator for Grays Harbor/Pacific counties.

Resources may include home visits, coordination of services, support groups and other assistance with the goal to help take care of the caregiver. Another resource is the Caregiver's Handbook, available for the asking at our local senior information and assistance offices.

Let's take a look at a different perspective in the family caregiver scenario for this week - from the view of the one receiving care. As we have so many times in the past, let's take a look at how "Dad" is doing. He's at home, and needs help due to increasing health problems and diminishing independence. Some of the family is in the area and are able to re-shuffle time and responsibilities in order to take care of him. There's little thought to what all that may entail at this point, but it's what the family wants to do, and - in their opinion - what they need to do. The rush is on! Dad's going to have all the help he needs, no matter what! In comes the family, and information is being gathered as to possible supports, while Dad's present situation (medical, financial, social) is becoming more familiar. But as we've asked before is this column: "What about Dad?"

Dad's been watching all this activity and is very appreciative - and proud - of his family. He knows that other lives have been interrupted by his circumstances. He's also beginning to realize that his role as head of the family, decision-maker and helper is changing. No matter how the family caregiver strives to maintain Dad's dignity and safeguard his independence, Dad sees the difference. Instead of providing help, guidance, funds and protection for his family, he now needs the help. Instead of giving, (which he loved to do and felt was only natural), he has to receive. Sometimes the change is hard. And as Dad watches the family change roles to some degree, it is often with a mixture of appreciation and sadness.

So don't be surprised if Dad sometimes seems sad when you think he should be happy and satisfied. Continue to add patience to everything else, and try to view things from his perspective. It's a change of season, and that's sometimes hard on all of us.

More to come!

Senior Informaton & Assistance

Ilwaco: 642-3634/(888) 571-6558

Raymond 942-2177/(888) 571-6557

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