Caregiving can be a confusing, isolating and overwhelming process. In many cases, caregivers are also undertrained or not trained at all. This is why good caregiving options are so important.
The pattern of undertraining is concerning, as caregivers provide critical support and can play a key role in the safety and well-being of their family members. By extension, limited training could be putting those loved ones at risk.
Additionally, caregivers aren’t always performing simple tasks. Some may be responsible for complex wound care, including colostomy care. Others may need to help with many activities, including helping seniors to bathe and to toilet.
Some caregivers will be supporting patients with serious health conditions, which come with their own complexities. Alzheimer’s disease is one example and there is a host of additional approaches, steps, and considerations that caregivers must learn as the disease progresses.
The need for caregiver training is being increasingly recognized, including discussions about regulations and ways to provide training and support for caregivers.
Yet, it will be years if not decades before any efficient systems are in place.
What should you do in the meantime?
Even without regulation and formal systems, there are many informal options for training. Many of these are available at the state or the local level, so the options will vary depending on the physical area that you live in.
Some interesting options are provided below.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, not by any means. But, these are good places to get started and may help you find other sources of information and training as well.
Where to Find Education and Support
Caregiving.com is an online blog that focuses on caregiving. They have a large range of information on their site, including a focus on many of the challenges of caregiving.
They also offer online training on a range of specific topics and areas. The courses provided won’t suit every set of needs but there is some useful information provided.
Even if you’re not interested in the training, there are interesting webinars on the blog that provide interesting direction. This includes a discussion of the six stages of caregiving and the way that caregiving is a journey through multiple areas and challenges.
The Alzheimer’s Association is another good place to find training, along with caregiving information overall.
Needless to say, this option is most relevant if you have a family member with Alzheimer’s disease. But, if this is you, then the site is worth bookmarking.
The site has a Caregiver Center that offers information for caregivers whose family members have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There is considerable information on this page, including information about finding practical help, obtaining support and planning.
The page also has links to various tools that can make your journey easier, including some paid and some free options. You can check this out at their Care Training Resources page and it is one of the best places to get started.
At Kapok, we currently offer a set of 1 to 2 hour in-person workshops in the Washington D.C. metro area and Northern Virginia. These workshops are primarily targeted at businesses who want to support employees, along with agencies that work with seniors and advocacy groups.
The individual topics have been covered at various stages on the blogs but the in-person courses offer additional direction and practical advice, including information that isn’t practical in a blog format.
Additionally, we are in the process of developing online courses via the platform Teachable. When operational, these courses will offer practical direction and information, much of which will apply to individual caregivers.
The online nature will also make this information easy to access regardless of your physical location.
Should You Bother?
The process of finding training or support can feel overwhelming.
I know, I’ve been there.
As a caregiver, it might seem like you don’t have the time to even start looking for extra training, let alone actually go through it. You might also feel that you won’t learn anything that fits your situation anyway, so why bother?
But, in practice, education and training can make a large difference. Often it will help you find more effective methods of completing tasks and caring for your family member. Likewise, training can help you spot potential issues early and know when there is a significant problem.
The information may also help you to meet your own needs more effectively and decrease your level of stress.
The end result is that education can help, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.
It also doesn’t have to be difficult. This post has discussed a few different options but there are many more out there.
Additionally, there is no shortage of online versions of training, including formal courses and informal discussions. The latter option includes places like online forums and social media sites (particularly Facebook and Twitter).
For Twitter, you can often find active caregiving discussions by searching hashtags. Some popular ones are #caregivingchat, #caregiver, #eldercarechat.
So, even if accessing external training isn’t feasible for your situation, you may be able to find some useful information and education online.