Monday, May 20, 2013

Help for Caregivers: Free Counseling Comes to the Rescue!

Attention, caregivers!  If you're not sure whether you fit this description, think again.  Do you provide transportation for your aging parent?  Do you do laundry, run errands, or clean house, so your parent can maintain independence?  Do you monitor your parents long-distance, making sure they're safe?

These are all forms of caregiving,  Day in and day out, these tasks can put you in the danger zone for stress.  Fortunately, though, geriatric professionals across the country are recognizing the need to keep caregivers healthy.

In Washington State,  for example, unpaid primary caregivers living in King County can get up to six in-home counseling sessions free, through a new program funded by Seattle-King County Aging and Disability Services.  The focus is on problem-solving, self-care, stress management and positive change.

Caregivers don't have to put in 40 hours a week to be eligible for the free counseling.  They don't have to live with the friend or loved one they care for.  The elderly person can even reside in an assisted living community or adult family home, anywhere except a nursing home.  There are no income restrictions on the program, either for the caregiver or for the elderly person.

This program is dubbed as "Starbucks Therapy" by Kelly Holiday, LMHC, GMHS and Angela Martin-Davis, RN, MHP, GMHS, Clinical Supervisors of Evergreen Health Behavioral Health Services, which sponsors the program.  Counseling sessions often take place, not at home, but in a relaxing place like a coffee shop.  Sounds like just what the doctor ordered!

Caregivers living in King County can schedule their visits by calling 425-899-6300 or 1-800-548-0558.

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