Most people who become a caregiver to a senior citizen do so because they love their elder. This important decision also could be fueled by other factors such as money (it’s too expensive for the family to hire a paid caregiver), or a senior citizen’s comfort level (mom doesn’t feel comfortable receiving care from someone outside of the family).
In truth, it doesn’t necessarily matter how you become a caregiver but rather how you choose to handle –and prepare– for your new role.
This article will briefly explain why family caregivers should consider going through caregiver training.
Although most family caregivers won’t make a career switch to become full-time, certified caregivers, caregiving training is beneficial to the layperson for a few reasons.
Training is beneficial to mental well-being
According to the study, “Benefits of Training Family Caregivers on Experiences of Closure During End-of-Life Care,” by Jung Kwak, Jennifer R. Salmon, Kimberly D. Acquaviva, Katherine Brandt, and Kathleen A. Egan, caregiving courses can help family caregivers “find meaning, increase comfort, and find positive experiences during difficult times.” Although Kwak et al. conducted research specific to one end-of-life caregiving program, this evidence is supported.
For example, another study discovered that “home-based caregiver training” programs helped decrease “problematic behaviors of elder people with dementia.” Training also helped improve “the caregiver’s self-efficacy for managing problematic behaviors.”
Training prevents injury
Social Work Today, a social worker industry magazine, reported that a study by researchers at The Ohio State University discovered that people referred to as “high-burden caregivers” often get hurt while caregiving. (Social Work Today reports that high-burden caregivers are defined “by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP as people who spend more than 21 hours a week assisting care recipients with activities of daily living.”)
“Almost all of the caregivers who participated in our study said they experience significant musculoskeletal discomfort related to caregiving activities, and that this discomfort can interfere with their ability to provide care, work and participate in life activities,” Amy Darragh, Ph.D., an occupational therapist at Ohio State’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said to the magazine.
Training can help a family caregiver with no caregiving experience in various ways. Training can ensure a family caregiver knows what their duties are, is prepared for the mental strain of caregiving, and understands how to protect their physical health.