The incidence of ignorance based elder abuse is escalating across the country. As more people live longer and choose for various reasons to stay at home there are more younger people caring for them. Many times these caregivers are ‘sandwiched’ between children, careers and elder care duties. The load can be heavy indeed. Many of these well meaning caregivers have no experience with caring for a frail elderly person.
People often mistake elder care as the mirror image of childcare. It is not similar… it is very different. Loving sons, daughters or other relatives, and even loyal friends make uncomfortable and even dangerous mistakes without intending to or even realizing that they have done so until the damage is done. This is as a direct result of not knowing what to do. It is entirely avoidable if you have the knowledge to make the right decisions and to take the correct actions at the right time. In other words, knowledge is power- and protection- for you and your elder.
Some home health agencies offer education and training to their professional caregiving staff but very few, if any, offer education programs for family caregivers. There are several online caregiver education programs making it convenient for almost anyone to get the education they need to skill build and make the care giving experience more enjoyable and less stressful for everyone concerned.
We recommend to our family caregivers the Family Caregiving Program offered at CertifiedCare.org because it is easy to read and comprehensive.
CertifiedCare offers four caregiver courses (which include testing and certification for those who want or need caregiving credentials) so anybody with an internet connection and a computer can study at home when it is convenient. The prices are reasonable, the online classes are available 24/7, and they are written at the 8th grade level.
We urge you to tell others about the importance of elder based caregiving education. so many people could be spared so much regret and pain if they just know how to provide the correct kind of care and attention to frail elderly people.
This article and recommendation was contributed by Ann Milgrim, on behalf of New York Kinship. The Kinship Navigator is a statewide program operated by Catholic Family Center and specifically designed to provide an information and referral network for kinship caregivers across all of New York State.