Editorial: Caring for caregivers

Those who have never been in the position of caring for a chronically or terminally ill loved one cannot truly comprehend the emotional, physical and financial toll it can take on the caregiver. It is truly an example of having to walk a mile in someone’s shoes to understand.
It does not matter if you are old or young. Those who are younger will inevitably have other responsibilities, be they children, a spouse, a job, or elderly parents to also worry about. Those who are of advanced years will find the hours, the financial and medical details, and the physical challenges daunting.
People do this out of love and, often, financial need. Family caregivers provide millions of dollars in uncompensated care each year. They make it possible for their loved ones to remain at home in comfortable and familiar surroundings.
But who cares for the caregivers? Most often caregivers must watch out for themselves, but friends and family can, and should, help, too. They just need to know what to do.
Wilton’s Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County will offer a series of four Caregiver Workshops that address the needs and concerns of caregivers. While these are excellent workshops for caregivers to attend, others are welcome as well.
The workshops will be held at the nursing agency’s offices in Suite 114 at the Health and Wellness Center at iPark, 761 Main Avenue on the Wilton/Norwalk town line. All workshops are on Wednesdays, from 3 to 4 p.m. 
• April 6 — Basic Physical Care will address issues of personal care of concern to caregivers, including hygiene, nutrition, sleep, and hydration. 
• April 13 — Easing Pain will focus on how to manage a loved one’s pain and provide the person with comfort. This will include stress reduction, guided imagery, relaxation, massage, music, and more. 
• April 20 — Caring for the Caregiver will teach caregivers how to take care of themselves. Topics to be discussed include respite care, nutrition, relaxation, exercise, and getting adequate rest. 
• April 27 — Legal Issues in Caregiving will cover advance directives, wills, power of attorney, obtaining assistance from federal and state agencies, and more.
The workshops are open to the public and are offered free of charge, but space is limited and registration is encouraged. For information or to register, call 203-762-8958.