Coping With Burden of Care
Classes teach unpaid caregivers that aiding others often starts with looking after yourself
By Paris Achen, Columbian Staff Reporter
Vancouver resident Virg Birdsall used to wake up at 5 each morning to go to the gym.
When his wife’s mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease caused her to begin to wander a year ago, Birdsall had to give up that ritual in order to be with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I am a very physical person,” said Birdsall, 83. “I like to do a lot of physical things. I had stopped doing that.”
Earlier this summer, Birdsall attended a cost-free program for unpaid caregivers that helped him to recover his daily exercise routine.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a six-week class offered at Vancouver’s Southwest Agency on Aging and Disabilities. The class centers on preserving and in some cases, reclaiming, the health and well-being of the caregiver.
“The caregiver just totally neglects themselves because they’re so wrapped up in taking care of their loved one that they don’t take care of themselves,” said Shanti Potts, a Powerful Tools class leader from Vancouver.
The stress of family caregiving increases caregivers’ risk of depression and premature death, according to research. One 2004 study by the University of California’s Department of Psychiatry found family caregiving can take as much as 10 years from a caregiver’s life.
If you or someone you love needs a caregiver in Houston or the surrounding area, contact At Your Side Home Care. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable care to our elderly, veterans and the disabled in our community. Call 832-271-1600.
Our Certified Nurse Aides, 24-Hour Live-in Assistants and Home Health Aides are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We also provide the security and confidence of 24-hour Telephone Assistance, so fast, reliable help is always available when it's needed. To learn more about our homecare services see our homecare services page.
Different people need different levels of homecare. To meet the requirements of our clients, At Your Side Homecare maintains consistent staffing levels of caring professionals. Homecare service is available for as little as a few hours a week, or as many as 24 hours a day, seven days a week