Family caregivers are at an increased risk for emotional, physical, and financial distress as well as premature death. On average, caregivers provide more than 70 hours of care per week, not including the caregiver’s responsibilities to healthy family members, to their job, or to maintaining a household.
Routine activities such as attending church, paying bills, keeping doctor and dental appointments, and maintaining home and car safety are sacrificed. Often caregivers do not take the time to care for themselves, resulting in a worsening of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The caregiver’s overwhelming job and declining health may lead to an increase in stress, anxiety, depression and isolation. Caregivers are even more likely to be the victim of a crime. Studies have shown that caregivers have a 60% higher mortality rate than their non-caregiver counterparts.
For all of these reasons the Riverside Center of Stones River Hospital and the Cannon County Senior Center have partnered and are sponsoring a monthly support group for caregivers.
Despite the undaunting task of caregiving, family members see their responsibilities as a “labor of love.” The aim of this group is to help empower and educate caregivers so that they can continue their commitment to their loved one.
The group is open to all caregivers. Some who may attend are caring for loved ones in their own home. Others may be helping relatives to continue to live in their own homes and may even be “long-distance caregivers” (meaning their loved ones live in a different town or state).
Some may attend because even though they are not caregivers yet, they realize that they are likely to be responsible for a loved one in the near future and they want to be prepared. There are even others to attend who continue to care and advocate for their loved one who now resides in a nursing home or long term care facility.
The meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Cannon County Senior Center. The meetings are free. Caregivers interested in getting more information may call Wanda at (615) 563-7288 or Dawn Wynn at (615) 563-5304.