Page 2 - Senior Times South Central Michigan September 2020 - 27-09
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Page 2 Senior Times - September 2020
By: Tim Mitchell, Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E.
  You know we live in uncertain times when you do a simple Google search and find an interesting article that has helpful information only to read an “Editor’s Note” at the very end that says, “Because of rapidly evolving events surrounding the coronavirus, the facts and advice presented in this story may have changed since publication.” Yes, things appear to be constantly changing in today’s world with no promise of an end in sight.
intervention for fear they will be placed in a hospital and be forced to remain there alone.
Statistically, there has been a noticeable increase in emotional and behavioral health issues across all age groups, however, older adults and their caregivers have experi- enced this at higher rates than the general population.
According to Alexandria Lueth, Director
of IDT Operations at Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E., the organization has seen a mea- surable increase in caregiver stress. She said, “The calls made by our social workers or other team members are not always to the partici- pant, but sometimes to the caregiver because we have learned they are experiencing extreme stress while caring for their family member at home. During the COVID pandemic we have increased caregiver burden screenings, and then offer interventions based on the outcome of the screening and the specific needs of
the caregiver. Normally, we have a recurring respite that worked really well, but that had to be put on hold for a bit as the respite homes we used weren’t accepting people for a while due to the virus. Fortunately, many of them have opened back up to receiving respite par- ticipants again. Getting our participants into
a respite has given some caregivers that time they need. And, there have been a few partic- ipants who have come to the center for a few hours during this time because of significant caregiver burden in the home. Just that little bit of time away can sometimes give caregiv- ers the break they so desperately need.”
If you are a caregiver, make sure you know the signs of caregiver stress so you can do something about it before you become a
victim of caregiver burnout. If you are experi- encing any of these issues, or a combination of them, make sure you seek help for yourself. If you are not well, you will not be able to care for your family member effectively.
The 10 symptoms of caregiver stress include denial (about the condition of the loved one for whom you are caring), anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, and health problems.
   The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our global community as well as our individual lives upside down and inside out, laying on our shoulders like a burdensome weight that won’t diminish. Some seem to take the extra burden in stride and continue to live life as normally as possible. While others feel like they are ready to break under what feels like a dark, heavy cloud hovering over them indefi- nitely. No one knows this more than the care- giver of an aging adult. The caregiving process was already extremely stressful at times, but adding the weight of a world-wide pandemic, the hyper-risk factors for coronavirus infec- tion associated with an aging family member, and the loss of many community resources on which you had become dependent, it now has the potential of becoming unbearable for the caregiver.
Barry Jacobs, a clinical psychologist and health care consultant, said, “With the added stressors the coronavirus brings, it’s essential caregivers seek help, too. Wherever possible, recruit friends and family to get food, med- icines, and other necessities. If you’ve ever hesitated in the past about asking for help, now’s the time to put that aside. Every family member needs to understand this is a crisis, and we all need to step up and do more for the people we love.”
 Prior to this novel virus there was oppor- tunity for a caregiver to take their loved one out of the house, to the grocery store or a doctor appointment, or to an adult day center for social interaction. However, with issues like stay at home orders, masking, social dis- tancing, and fear of becoming infected, those opportunities have been drastically reduced or, in some cases, totally eliminated. If an aging loved one becomes ill, the caregiver may even be frightened about taking them for medical
Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. has a team of trained and licensed social workers dedicated to helping the families of participants cope with caregiver stress or burnout. They have helped literally hundreds of caregivers over the last eleven years navigate the difficult and uncharted waters of caring for an aging family member. Especially during this time of social distancing, it is vitally important to reach out to the resources available within the commu- nity to assist you. In fact, your survival as a caregiver may depend on it.
To learn more about how Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. can help you as a caregiver and your aging loved one, call (269) 441-9319 or visit
   Experience the Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. Difference!
• Physical and Occupational • Quality Medical Care • Socialization
Therapy Services • Social Services • Support for Caregivers
• Safety in the Home
Call us to find out if Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. is right for you or someone you love - (269) 441-9319
   Visit seniorcarepartners/
Text “PACE” to 51555 to learn more about the services we provide
 200 W. Michigan Ave, Ste 103, Battle Creek, MI • 445 W. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI • 800 E. Milham Ave, Portage, MI • 290 B Drive North, Albion, MI

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