John spends many of his weekends driving north from the Twin Cities to help his dad in rural Palisade.

John picks up a list and buys groceries for his dad, does his banking and picks up his medication. Back at home, he puts the groceries away, sorts the pills into the box for dad to take his daily medication and throws in a load of wash, vacuums and washes a sink load of dishes.

Is John a caregiver?

Lacy lives with her grandma. She helps grandma with housework and shopping and spends many evenings watching TV and playing cards with grandma. She washes and sets grandma’s hair every week as grandma can’t reach her arms above her head.

Is Lacy a caregiver?

The answer to both questions is yes.

There are 42 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, mostly adult children caring for their parents. Often, caregivers don’t even think of themselves in that way or realize that is their role.

Your caregiving may include cleaning or doing the laundry for the care receiver. You may remind them to take their medications or prepare their meals. Among the things you do for your parent, neighbor, friend or spouse may be helping with paperwork. You might assist them in and out of the tub or help them dress or curl or style their hair or help them shave.

All this caregiving, which often starts out small and adds up to more and more duties, puts a lot of stress on the caregiver. The caregiver might live in another town or work full-time or care for children or grandchildren or another disabled person.

AITKIN COUNTY CARE CAN HELP YOU COPE

It may be time to bring some help into your home to assist the care receiver and take the strain off the caregiver.

Aitkin County CARE has caring, trained and background-checked respite workers to help you and your care receiver.

Workers can serve all parts of the county and among the work they can do is reminding the person to take their pills and eat regularly, prepare healthy meals and transfer them in and out of the shower. They can assist with general grooming.

As part of respite care, light housekeeping and laundry chores can also be done. They can also spend time with the care receiver, enjoying hobbies or reading, music, playing games or cards, knitting, talking, bird-watching or whatever it is the person wants to spend time doing. Help with paperwork or forms or placing phone calls or helping retrieve messages or correspondence can be helpful.

Martha lives with her husband Larry in their family home. Martha recently was discharged from the hospital. A respite worker visits them a couple hours a day at their home in town. The worker checks that they both have taken their medications, helps Martha get dressed and washed up and prepares lunch for the two of them. Time permitting, she also prepares casseroles that can be frozen for dinners and does some vacuuming, dusting and cleaning of the bathroom and kitchen.

The couple has grown children living in town and in other areas. They take turns stopping in and checking with their parents and running errands and shopping for them to make sure all their needs are met.

Marv lives with his son James on the farm. James is very busy outside working with animals and planting crops.

A respite worker comes twice a day. In the morning, she gets Marv going, helping him get dressed and supervising while he washes up, makes him breakfast and prepares him a sandwich for his lunch.

When the evening respite worker gets there, Marv is up from his nap and in good spirits. They play a quick game of cribbage and then the worker prepares supper and does some tidying up. When James comes in from the field, he is able to sit down and enjoy dinner with dad and spend some time with him in the evening, confident in the knowledge that his physical needs are met and the house is clean and orderly.

To inquire about respite care or other services contact Aitkin County CARE at 218-927-1383 or 877-810-776 or email kimprogramdirec tor@gmail.com for more information.

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