Caregiving Strategies: Find Out About Caring for a Senior Living With Frailty
Canadian seniors are living at home longer and their caregivers are providing up to 75% of their health care needs. These caregivers can be any family member, friend or neighbour who provides personal, social, psychological and physical support. Many caregivers say they feel ‘overwhelmed’ and need somewhere to go for advice and to ensure they are using all available resources.
In response to this growing need, the Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario (RGPO) and six partners across Ontario have developed a collection of specially curated educational resources. Caregiving Strategies is for family and friend caregivers who provide care and support for seniors experiencing frailty. These resources have been designed by caregivers and health care experts to improve the skills, knowledge, and confidence of family member and friend caregivers.
Caregiving Strategies resources include:
- A website
- A handbook
- A free online course
Each resource is organized into eight topics that provide:
- Background on a clinical topic;
- Strategies you can use in your caregiving;
- Tips for how to communicate with professionals, and;
- Resources for further support.
Whether you are just starting to provide care or have lots of experience, you will find valuable help when you need it and guidance as you prepare for the future. As one caregiver expressed, “Right away, I found three or four things that I did not know.” Another caregiver said, “All of this information may not be useful now, but it could be useful later on.” And “Don’t wait for a crisis in your caregiving.”
What is Frailty?
Frailty is a state where a person experiences more vulnerability to poor health and has less ability to be independent. Frailty can make it challenging for a person to regain strength after an illness or injury.
Research demonstrates that frailty may be prevented, postponed, or reversed when family and friend caregivers apply strategies in the home.
By applying the strategies from the Caregiving Strategies resources, you can support resilience, encourage independence, and enhance quality of life of the person you care for. These strategies may also help you manage your own health and wellness as you take on a caregiving role.
There are seven clinical topics that are especially relevant to support resilience, independence, and quality of life of a senior living with frailty. These topics are: Pain; Staying Active; Nutrition; Bladder Health; Medication Management; Changes in thinking (Delirium); and Social Engagement. The new resources provide information, tools and strategies about these topics, for you to apply when providing care and support. But before you start on the clinical topics, we address the topic of caring for yourself – the caregiver.
To access Caregiving Strategies, please visit: www.rgps.on.ca/caregiving-strategies
Who Created These Resources?
The Ontario Ministry of Health provided two year project funding to the Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario (RGPO). RGPO worked with hundreds of people: caregivers, experts in geriatrics, and health care professionals from across Ontario. The new online resources in Caregiving Strategies respond to learning needs that caregivers have identified. Take a moment to watch Conversations with Caregivers, which shows what some caregivers told think about this project.
Caregivers volunteered their time, insight and shared their experiences. Health care experts guided the content development, and education professionals helped create the curriculum for learning. This effort is one of the ways that the RGPO is responding to the ethical and social imperatives to support caregivers as they experience the rewards and challenges of caring.
Go to www.rgps.on.ca to learn more about the RGPO.