Have you ever considered that you are a Caregiver with Rights?
I recently came across a Bill of Rights, specially tailored for a caregiver with rights. I’d like to share it with all of you caregivers. This is from a handbook titled “The Caregiver’s Handbook: Assisting Both the Caregiver and the Elderly Care-receiver.”
It was edited by Robert Torres-Stanovik, LCSW, of The Caregiver Education and Support Services, San Diego County Mental Health Services in California.
The Caregivers’ Bill of Rights,
- Caregivers have the right to receive sufficient training in caregiving skills along with accurate understandable information about the condition and needs of the care recipient.
- Caregivers have the right to appreciation and emotional support for their decision to accept the challenge of providing care.
- Caregivers have the right to protect their assets and financial future without severing their relationship with the care-receiver.
- Caregivers have the right to respite care during emergencies and in order to care for their own health, spirit, and relationships.
- Caregivers have the right to expect all family members, both men and women, to participate in the care for aging relatives.
- Caregivers have the right to provide care at home as long as physically, financially and emotionally feasible; however, when it is no longer feasible caregivers have the obligation to explore other alternatives, such as a residential care facility.
- Caregivers have the right to temporarily alter their premises as necessary to provide safe and livable housing for care-receivers.
- Caregivers have the right to accessible and culturally appropriate services to aid in caring for aging care-receivers.
- Caregivers have the right to expect professionals, within their area of specialization, to recognize the importance of palliative (ease without curing) care and to be knowledgeable about concerns and options related to older people and caregivers.
- Caregivers have the right to a sensitive, supportive response by employers in dealing with the unexpected or severe care needs.
I don’t know what your reaction is to this Bill of Rights, but I really found it refreshing. It reminded me that caregivers deserve some respect just for being a caregiver. Chances are, you have never realized you are a caregiver with rights.
Being a Caregiver with Rights.
Truly, the wider world does not appreciate caregivers. To think that, yes, I have the “right to appreciation and emotional support for their decision to accept the challenge of providing care.” It can be eye-opening for some caregivers that they have the right to expect “all family members” to participate in the care of an elder.
Respect for workers caring for senior family members is indeed needed in workplaces across the country. As caregivers, we often have to try and try again to get professionals, particularly in health care professions, to help us figure out what the patient needs, and to stop for a moment and recognize our worries and concerns about the patient.
This Bill of Rights says that we have the right to “accurate understandable information about the condition and needs of the care recipient” and the right to expect professionals to share their knowledge with us.
And, yes, we have the right to care for ourselves also, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially when we are caregiving for others.
No, this is not a legal document. However, “The Caregivers’ Bill of Rights” gives us a goal for society to work toward in the care of the elderly and sick and for those who care for them. It clearly sets out some aspirations for a caregiver with rights to help themselves maintain their self-esteem as they do the honorable daily tasks of caring for the elderly and sick at home or elsewhere.
The Caregiver Bill of Rights
In addition, the Handbook where “The Caregivers’ Bill of Rights” is a valuable tool for any caregiver for a senior. It is a 39-page booklet produced in 1990 for use in caregiver training programs. It has chapters on topics such as caring for the caregiver, medical aspects, emotional well-being, and when to stop caregiving. It has been used in caregiver training and related healthcare programs and for free distribution to the general public. “The Caregivers’ Handbook” is not for commercial sale. You can contact the San Diego Family Caregiver Support Program at 800-339-4661 or 800- 510-2020. You can find the Caregiver’s Handbook online.
Caregiver with rights, celebrate today!