Because being a caregiver for loved ones who need help can be emotionally, physically and financially exhausting, at the same time it is also rewarding and important. Support is available for many Wyoming caregivers through the Wyoming Department of Health.

“Caregivers are often acting out of love,” said Jeanne Scheneman, National Family Caregiver Support Program manager with WDH. “However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Oftentimes caregivers are also balancing another job, families, and their own physical and mental health needs.”

Family members are often the ones providing long-term care for older relatives or for those with disabilities, frequently with the goal of avoiding placing their loved ones in long-term care facilities.

“We say the first rule of taking care of others is taking care of yourself. The best way to keep your loved one home for more time, is to keep yourself healthy and happy,” Scheneman said.

The National Family Caregiver Support Program helps adults who are caregivers for a loved one 60 years of age or older or for someone of any age who has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia condition or disorder, older adults who find themselves raising their grandchildren or parents of an adult who has a disability.

Resources for caregivers can include:

• Respite care, which provides coverage so caregivers can take a temporary break

• Support groups, which offers a network of other caregivers to talk with and share experiences and feelings

• Home services, which involves activities such as bathing, dressing assistance and home cleaning

For more information about the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which is offered through WDH, contact Scheneman at (307) 777-8566 or send an email to wyaging@wyo.gov.

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