Understanding you are a caregiver can lead to better care

For people helping a spouse or parent with dementia, the idea of being a “caregiver” often creeps up slowly.

But it’s an important notion to grab hold of, said Catherine Engstrom, a caregiver services social worker at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul. She will speak about the topic on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Roseville Library. The program is free and open to the public.

Her talk, “Are you a caregiver?” is part of the monthly Dementia Caring & Coping series sponsored by the Roseville Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team, held on the second Thursday of each month at the library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N.

“It’s important that people identify that they are caregivers so they can access caregiving supports,” said Engstrom, who will talk about the types of help available, such as caregiver coaching, adult day programs or support groups.

Sometimes relatives resist asking for help, saying that caring for a loved one is simply what a good daughter or spouse is supposed to do — a family obligation. But the quality of care may be better — and the work less stressful — when caregivers take advantage of programs and services designed to help.

Helping caregivers learn more about useful resources and how to stay healthy so that they don’t burn out are among the goals of the series. 

Roseville A/D volunteers work to help the city become a “dementia-friendly community” through monthly talks and other programs for individuals, families and organizations dealing with dementia. For more information and resources, go to www.cityofroseville.com/dementiainfo.

—Warren Wolfe retired from the Star Tribune, where he wrote about aging issues. He is a member of Roseville A/D.

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