Occupational Therapy for Caregivers:
TEDMED2012 recognized the growing crisis in caregiving as the second most important health/medical topic facing the nation today. This issue will take on greater urgency as a good portion of the estimated 76 million aging Baby Boomers become caregivers or patients … or both. Studies show that the well-being of caregivers correlates directly with perceived and actual occupational competency of care-receivers. The stress of caring for family members can result in denial, anger, social withdrawal, depression, sleeplessness, weight loss/gain, headaches and backaches, lack of concentration and high blood pressure. OTs are uniquely qualified to help families with daily coping and living skills to reduce stress and allow patients to remain non-institutionalized longer.
OT caregiver intervention has, for the most part, been in the form of information about a disease, its symptoms and what to expect as it progresses. Practical solutions have been patient-centric and one size fits all. According to Mary Corcoran, PhD, OTR, families are in need of tools that can be tailored to their specific situation and their specific care-receiver. Her customizable program is for use in a broad range of treatment settings, and with the four caregiving styles she cites: facilitating, balancing, advocating and directing. C-tips has been designed for caregivers of Alzheimer and dementia, but is easily adaptable for use with debilitating conditions such as strokes, brain tumors, paralysis, and others.
Help us celebrate National Family Caregivers Month, on our Facebook page. Tell us your own experiences with caregivers, and any practical solutions that you have designed and implemented with them. Remember, that if you are an OTconcerned with caregiver well-being, Centra can help you find new opportunities that are best suited to your skills and ambitions. Call us at 800-535 0076!