Care Counseling focuses on developing resilience to the effects of stress as well as problem solving
As our population ages, more and more adults are finding themselves in the role of caring for a frail or disabled relative. Most often, the relative is an aging parent, but it could also be a disabled spouse or child. Research tells us–warns us– that in absence of stress management and resources, the physical and emotional drain of caregiving can cause the caregiver’s immune system to deteriorate, leading to chronic disease. Care Counseling is a new mode of counseling/therapy that focuses upon complex caregiver issues in a multidisciplinary, holistic approach.
LifeCare Case Management
Lifecare Management, sometimes known as geriatric care management, is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, the expertise of a LifeCare Professional provides answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
- Assessment and monitoring
- Planning and problem-solving
- Education and advocacy
- Family caregiver coaching
- Facilitation of conversations around family & loved one’s needs
There was nothing in life that prepared you for this role that has become a time of intense vulnerability. Perhaps, you’re a son, a husband, a father, or you’re a daughter, a wife, a mother. All those words tell you that you are in a shared life with another. Those words, those relationships, those roles, make sense to you. But now there is another word that describes who you are: Caregiver. You may even hate the idea of the word. It seems somehow too simple and emotionally sterile. Yet, there is nothing simple or sterile about how you live day-by-day as a caregiver for someone you love.
In 2015, four in ten adults in the US are caregivers to a family member who is unable to care for themselves. For most, the responsibility is manageable, even satisfying. The loved one may be able to do basic things for themselves. Yet, for many aging or frail adults, basic tasks such as brushing one’s teeth, toileting, and moving from a bed to a chair requires help from another person. And as the years pass, the level of caregiving increases, shifting the amount of time and energy, once devoted to other relationships and leisure time. Sixty percent of family caregivers who are working full or part-time provide may provide an additional 60 hours of caregiving each week. They need help; they want help but don’t know where to find it or how to ask for it.
Caregiver coaching is different from traditional talk therapy. With traditional talk therapy the primary focus is within the client: feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. External resources are rarely discussed. There are two components to caregiver counseling that you can expect with Sharon Gayle Counseling: Emotional support and case management services.
What you may expect
The initial session is to learn more about you and your unique concerns in the care giving role. Some examples may include:
- The quality of the relationship you have with your loved one.
- Areas of conflict between you and others also invested in the care of the loved one (siblings, children, et al.)
- The amount of time, energy, money required to take care of your loved one and how much of those resources are supplied by you
- Emotional, spiritual, psychological aspects related to care giving. Alzheimer’s Disease is particularly draining of these abilities
- The external (other) resources you presently have in place to provide care
- What areas do you need additional resources to help you manage care giving responsibilities?
Every caregiver’s situation is unique to him/her and the loved one, so know that whatever those issues are, we can help you find solutions and resolutions.
The second session is to learn some facts of about caregiving and the nature of your loved one’s illness and to establish goals for the coaching. What inner resources need to be strengthened? What joys you want increase? What burdens do you want to decrease? What balance in your life are you wanting to achieve? At the end of this session, we will have a plan for obtaining those goals.
Any additional sessions are variable according to the individual caregiver needs. For some, there are deep, old wounds that exist between caregiver and care receiver. These sessions call upon therapeutic processes to help those wounds heal. For others, the chief concern is feeling inadequate for the role—that feeling of ‘not good enough’ or ‘not doing enough.’ This may be a recent feeling or one borne of long-standing low self-esteem and self-efficacy. How you see yourself is important and directly relates to how you care for the other person.
Typically, clients who work with me will experience 3-6 sessions to feel that they can manage their role with effectiveness and confidence. Although referrals are made throughout the process, the final one or two sessions are primarily focused on case management. Where do we go from here?
Then there is a pause of sessions, but the caregiver is still connected with his/her counselor. She is available for phone consult. The client will engage in a ‘check-in’ appointment or phone call every three months throughout the life of their caregiving responsibilities. These check-ins are important to help prevent the caregiver from again feeling lost, lonely, and overwhelmed.
Case management entails finding appropriate outside resources for caregiving. Again, the resources that you need will vary based upon your loved one’s limitations and your needs. I vet the resources that I provide to clients. Because I have already learned from the caregiver their goals and needs for caregiving, this can save the caregiver time and money by avoiding hiring the wrong people to help them. Review the section on LifeCare Case Management for more details.
Caregivers, if they have insurance may be able to use that benefit. Counseling/therapy sessions are usually covered; case management may not be covered. Check with your insurance. If you work, your employer may have an EAP benefit. This is typically short-term and is designed to help maintain or regain work performance levels.
My name is Sharon Gayle. As a caregiver, myself, I understand the joy and the burden, the gift and the guilt of caregiving. Other professionals may focus on feelings only or on logistics. I do that also, but my approach is more holistic, centered on who you are. My services look at the whole picture and help you find the inner and outer resources to live better with your responsibilities (as a caregiver, as a person) and your devotion to your loved one. I am an empathetic, experienced counselor for those whose want to provide safety and comfort to someone who cannot care for themselves.