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Caregivers Providing End of Life Care Need Support
Comfort Keepers can provide respite they need
The Hospice Foundation of America estimates that almost half a million people, 68 percent being age 65 or older, received hospice care in 2006. For most, that care involved a family caregiver.
According to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), more than one quarter (26.6 percent) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aging family member or friend during the past year. Based on current census data, that translates into more than 50 million people.
Hospice services address all aspects of care, emphasizing the control of pain and discomfort and allow the patient and family to focus on maintaining quality of life. Providing care in a hospice situation is difficult at best. Many family caregivers must deal with not only the time demands and additional responsibilities but also the emotional needs of their loved one and family.
Recent medical research indicates the stress associated with caregiving can lead to a weakened immune system and in some cases take years off the caregiver's life. Those risks increase when they have to manage caregiving responsibilities in an end of life situation and while juggling career and family.
"We have seen how stressful the demands of caregiving can be," said Jim Booth, President and CEO of Comfort Keepers Franchising, Inc. "For an individual juggling the demands of a job and being a caregiver, simple everyday responsibilities like grocery shopping or laundry can get overlooked. That is where a service like Comfort Keepers can help."
For those working caregivers, below are a few things to consider.
- If others offer to assist with some of their caregiving responsibilities, assign them specific tasks.
- Find out if part-time work is an available option for you.
- Temporary leave from work may help the situation and allow you to spend more time at home during your loved one's final days.
- Under the Family Medical Leave Act, covered employers must grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.
Caregiving can often be a 24-hour responsibility, particularly when providing hospice care. For many, respite care is a great alternative solution. Respite care provides temporary relief to the primary caregiver. Companies like Comfort Keepers®, an in-home care provider, offer a range of assistance with a mix of daily living assistance, personal care and homemaking services.
According to Booth, "Respite care has always been a part of our in-home care business. An average of 12 percent of family caregivers have left their jobs as a result of caregiving responsibilities. We'd like to think the services we offer can positively impact the lives of these caregivers."