The Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc. (WCCOA) is a 501 (C)( 3) non-profit organization. Its goal is to help older adults maintain their independence and improve their quality of life. The WCCOA encourages engagement in lifelong learning opportunities, health and wellness programs, supports an active lifestyle, provides meals and social services throughout Wood County. Centers are located in Bowling Green, Perrysburg, Walbridge, Rossford, Pemberville, Wayne, Grand Rapids and North Baltimore.
“Caregiving is universal.There are only four kinds of people in the world:those who have been caregivers, those who
currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need
caregivers.”Former First Lady Rosalyn
More and more seniors are providing care for a loved one. Caregiving
has positive rewards of accomplishment, spiritual growth, and satisfaction in
providing excellent care to someone we care about. Caregiving also has physical
and psychological challenges and stress. More attention is being paid by
researchers, medical workers, and clinicians to the psychological and physical
toll that caregiving takes on seniors.
There are differences in caregiver responsibility and time
commitment. Temporary disability of the care receiver from a surgery, injury,
or illness may only require weeks or months of caregiving duties. The caregiver
understands that health and function of the loved one will eventually return
and the duties of caregiving will lessen. This provides a psychological “light
at the end of the tunnel” effect and gives hope to the caregiver that normalcy
in their lives will return and responsibilities will soon end.
Conversely, for those caring for someone with a progressive
disability such as dementia, or a chronic health condition, the realization
that the responsibility will increase over time and potentially become more
than they can manage can be overwhelming and daunting. When caregivers are in
the midst of caregiving, their own needs often become secondary to the care receiver’s
needs or even totally pushed aside. Many caregivers of frail, chronically ill
loved ones find themselves overwhelmed, tired, and stressed despite their
devotion to the care receiver.
With either scenario in mind, it is increasingly evident
that caregivers must learn to take care of their own physical and psychological
health in order to continue to fulfill their commitment to caretaking, and to ensure
their own health for the future. We are
learning that scheduled time away from caregiving duties is essential for the
wellbeing of the caregiver. Taking time out daily for as little as 30 minutes
of relaxation can make a difference in levels of stress and depression. Longer blocks of time that allow for time away
from the demands of caregiving are even more beneficial.
Clinicians are discovering that no one can manage caregiving
alone, especially for extended periods of time. Caregiving is always more
successful as a family team effort. Enlisting the help of all family members
and creating a schedule that all parties commit to will not only help the
person receiving care, but also the primary caregiver devoting their efforts to
the wellbeing of the care receiver. Home care agencies are available for hire
to provide companion and aide services for care receivers so caregivers can
take a break. Proper nutrition, exercise, yoga, tai chi, support groups, and
individual counseling are all healthy suggestions to alleviate caregiver stress
and are supported by research as helpful interventions.
If you have questions about caregiver support services in
your community, contact the Social Services Department at the Wood County
Committee on Aging, Inc. at (419) 353-5661.
Gentlemen from across the area enjoyed a day out on Friday, June 19 and learned the skill of fly fishing. Greg Senyo, professional fly fisherman, and staff from his business, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, spent the entire day in Wayne with over a dozen participants.