Each November, The ALS Association Golden West Chapter recognizes National Family Caregivers Month, and we pay tribute to the individuals who provide daily assistance to those living with the challenges of ALS.
Caregivers encounter many challenges in supporting their loved one with ALS, some of which include the new experience of understanding how to provide assistance for physical limitations affecting mobility, swallowing, speaking and breathing. Cognitive issues present an extra layer of difficulty in providing care. A May 2020 article by AARP writes the following about caregiver burnout:
Thirty-six percent of family caregivers characterize their situation as highly stressful, according to the "Caregiving in the U.S. 2020" report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC).
In the five years since AARP and NAC last conducted the national survey, the proportion of caregivers describing their health as excellent or very good dropped from 48 percent to 41 percent.
A 2018 study from insurance firm Genworth found that four in 10 caregivers experienced depression, mood swings and resentment as a result of their labors.
Research cited by the American Psychological Association found that among people ages 55 to 75, those who are caregivers show a 23 percent higher level of stress hormones, which can lead to high blood pressure, and a 15 percent lower level of immune response, making them more vulnerable to the flu and other infections.
An ALS diagnosis impacts every aspect of caregivers’ lives as they adjust their efforts to meet ongoing work, family, personal and financial obligations, which change as the disease progresses.
The Golden West Chapter will provide various resources throughout November to empower and help address the daily issues you may experience in your critical work as a caregiver. We want to honor you and the vital support you provide to those who need it most. Please check out these Chapter resources below.
Caring for Caregivers: Our Deepest Gratitude
In recent years, donors with a deep recognition of the significant issues facing family caregivers, have stepped up to support Golden West Chapter’s programs and novel initiatives designed to provide vital and transformative support to caregivers living with a loved one diagnosed with ALS. We are so grateful to the Morris Family Caregiver Initiative and Ron Malone Care Services Fund for supporting our essential programs and services for caregivers. These are just two examples of the generosity of those served by the Chapter has translated into meaningful support for other caregivers throughout our service area. Please consider making a gift today in support of the mission of the Golden West Chapter!
Spotlight on ... Sue Morris
Caring for someone with ALS can be a transformative experience, and one such individual is Sue Morris. Learn more about her incredible commitment to the ALS community, as a Golden West Chapter board member and a committee member of our annual Champions for Cures and Care celebration. Sue and her children decided to support the mission of the Golden West Chapter in a new way, and by creating the Morris Family Caregiver Initiative to help provide meaningful support for caregivers throughout the Chapter’s service area. Learn more in our "Spotlight on..." article.
Watch Our Webinar "Caring for the Caregiver"
In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, watch our latest ASK ME educational webinar, “Caring for the Caregiver” featuring Kathryn Sexson, PhD, APRN, FNP, Associate Director of Education, Family Caregiving Institute, UC Davis Health, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. We are grateful to Kathryn for her wonderful presentation.
This year, the Golden West Chapter received the “High Impact Priority Quality of Life,” grant of $30,000 from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center (PRC). The Chapter is using the grant to support respite care for 40 families living with ALS throughout the Chapter’s service area, which includes 31 counties throughout California and the entire state of Hawaii. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal, neurodegenerative illness that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The Chapter is one of only 14 Quality of Life Grants given out this year, and funds will be used to support respite care for 40 families facing ALS in our service area. Please contact your care manager for more information on this program.
We are deeply appreciative of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) for their generous grant to help people living with ALS, their families, and their caregivers.
Building Better Caregivers
In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, find support from other caregivers managing the challenges of caring for a loved one. Building Better Caregivers (BBC) is a free 6-week online workshop developed by Stanford University to support caregivers of Veterans of all eras. BBC brings together a community of caregivers to learn new ways to manage stress, improve communication and give and receive support in a safe and secure small group environment facilitated by trained leaders. Learn more at their website.
Medicare Coverage for Home Health Aide Care
Medicare coveragecan help older adults and people with disabilities obtain necessary home care. When individuals meet the home health benefit criteria, Medicare-covered care can include home health aide services. As defined by federal law, home health aides provide hands-on personal care, including assistance with activities of daily living. This care is often critical to person's health, safety, and ability to remain at home. Learn more from this fact sheet provided by the Center for Medicare Advocacy.