#ElderCareChat Recap 6/21/17: Making Caregiving a Family Affair

Mark-Gibbons-Caregiver-Action-NetworkOurParents.com, SeniorAdvisor.com, and VeteransAid.org were delighted to welcome the Caregiver Action Network to our June 21, 2017 session of #ElderCareChat. The organization’s Director of Programs and Operations Mark Gibbons served as an expert panelist, engaging 29 participants in a thought-provoking Twitter conversation about the roles and responsibilities involved in caring for aging parents, and ways to ensure everyone plays a part.

The hour-long #ElderCareChat highlighted the Caregiver Action Network’s goal of improving the quality of life for family caregivers by reducing their day-to-day stress and financial distress.

The Twitter session, which generated more than 2.5 million impressions, underscored the fact that senior caregiving often falls disproportionately to one adult child rather than all the children. Participants pointed out that this happens as a result of proximity, personality, family dynamics and expectations, and marital status.

But Gibbons warned that when too much responsibility falls on one person, it can lead to depression, illness, burnout, and isolation. To avoid this, he suggested offering siblings solutions that fit their capabilities, such as financial support, or daily communication with their parents. Different family members can assume the roles of medical advisor, financial manager, and property manager, with additional roles such as social care, pampering, running errands, visiting, and spiritual care.

Of course, self-care cannot be overemphasized in family caregiving. Gibbons said family members can discover joy in caregiving rather than burdensome stress by delegating responsibilities, getting respite, and joining a support group. And if a caregiver has no family members to lean on, he reminded participants that family caregivers can utilize the Caregiver Action Network to access tools like instructional videos and share in the Care Community forum.

Here are some highlights of the discussion that took place over the #ElderCareChat hour (scroll through to view all):

#ElderCareChat is presented by OurParents.com and sister sites SeniorAdvisor.com and VeteranAid.org as a forum to share resources, experiences, and expertise in eldercare. #ElderCareChat meets mid-month; the next chat will be Wednesday, July 21, 2017, at 1pm ET. Stay tuned to @OurParents Twitter handle and the #ElderCareChat information page for further details.

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