• If you are helping to care for a loved one, you are not alone.

    Family caregivers make up the majority of the more than 34 million unpaid caregivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many are part of the sandwich generation – those that find themselves wedged between generations, caring for children as well as an aging family member.

    “Caring for a loved one who is ill, aging or disabled can be rewarding but at the same time, caregiver stress can take its toll both emotionally and physically,” explained Rome Memorial Hospital’s director of social services, Lori Decker, LMSW, C-ASWCM. “Often unrecognized and over utilized, they can experience caregiver stress, burnout and depression.”

    Decker will present “Caregiver Stress Management” at the hospital’s Health Night Thursday, Sept. 4. She will discuss the signs of caregiver stress and how to take steps to protect your own health and well-being. The free program begins at 7 p.m. in the hospital’s classroom.

    It is common for caregivers to struggle with questions such as:
    • How do I split my time between my children/family and my elder loved one?
    • How do I find the time for my marriage?
    • How do I find the time for myself?
    • How do I overcome feelings of guilt for not having enough time to accomplish all I ‘should’ be doing?
    “As a caregiver, it is easy to become so focused on our loved one’s needs, we often don’t realize we are putting our own health in jeopardy,” Decker said. “At Health Night, I will discuss the strategies you can use to protect your physical and emotional health.”

    “Many caregivers have a hard time asking for help. This is also an opportunity to learn about the local resources available to caregivers so that you don’t have to struggle on your own,” she added.

    Health Night is a free monthly lecture series. No advance registration is required for this program. Refreshments will be served.

    For more information about Health Night, call 338-7143.