Caregivers’ role discussed at Rimbey’s Seniors Fair

It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out the role of a caregiver.

It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out the role of a caregiver.

Basically, they give care.

But who gives care to the caregiver?

That’s where Alberta Caregivers Association comes in.

Debbie Cameron-Laninga, program co-ordinator for the Alberta Caregivers Association spoke at the Seniors Fair in Rimbey recently.

During her presentation she talked about her own personal journey as a caregiver.

After learning her parents were both terminally ill, she and her husband moved into their home to be full time caregivers. After her parents died, the couple, who had been working overseas, decided to stay in Canada.

“When I saw the Alberta Caregivers Association was hiring, I was excited to join their team to help other caregivers in their journey,” she said. “Training facilitator, get the word out, big part of my job.”

The role of caregiver is defined as someone who cares for a partner with a debilitating illness, or parents who care for a child with a physical or mental illness, or adult children who help elderly parents with household tasks.

Someone checking on a neighbour because there is no one else to do the job can also be identified as a caregiver, Cameron-Laninga said.

While the role of a caregiver varies, the common denominators remain fairly constant.

Dealing with the wants and needs of someone else with little thought or time given to one’s own wants and needs can leave a person feeling like they are on an emotional rollercoaster.

Feelings of being on edge, angry, frustrated, resentful ,and then feeling guilty for experiencing those feelings is not uncommon, she said.

Physically challenges, difficult relationships, and financial hardships can also be part of a caregiver’s daily struggles.

Providing support to caregivers facing these challenges is what the Alberta Caregivers Association is all about, said Cameron-Laninga.

For caregivers who are feeling burned out and need immediate help, she suggested calling 1-877-453-5088.

“We’ve got a caregiver advisor who provides one on one support and will help the caregiver find what resources might fit their situation or will just lend a listening ear if that is all that is needed,” she said.

The Alberta Caregivers Association also offers a COMPASS workshop that helps caregivers manage guilt, resentment and stress. In Rimbey, this program is available through FCSS.

“The FCSS in Rimbey has run our COMPASS workshop this past spring, and are planning to run it again the fall,” said Cameron-Laninga.

Caregivers may also check out the Alberta Caregivers web site at www.albertacaregivers.org for more information and forums.