Get your loved one evaluated and treated. Social workers at

the Area Agency on Aging can conduct a mini mental status exam. To find your local agency, click here. Or consult a geriat- ric psychiatrist, a doctor trained to recognize and treat mental illnesses in older people. Visit the Geriatric Mental Health Foun- dation’s website to find a geriatric psychiatrist near you.

Preventing Suicide Suicide rates are particularly high among older Americans.

Those suffering from depression are at greatest risk. Do not ignore remarks about suicide, especially if there’s a history of suicide in your family. Report them to your loved one’s doctor, and en- courage your relative to seek treatment immediately. Firearms can pose an increased risk to suicidal older adults. If there are firearms in the home, remove them as soon as possible. For more advice, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273- 8255. All calls are confidential. Lastly, if you don’t live nearby ask friends and neighbors to

look in on your loved one more often. Also, work with the Area Agency on Aging to develop a support plan for this person.

Maintaining Your Mental Health You may find that caring for a loved one takes a toll on your

own mental health. Make a point of keeping stress in check. Joining a caregiver support group can help and can be just what you need to help you cope better. If caring for a loved one leaves you frustrated and angry at times, that's normal — but you don't have to go it alone. A good caregiver support group can be a lifeline, providing a place — in person, on the phone or online — to share feelings confidentially, make new friends, get help navigating the health care system and learn from others who have walked a similar path.

The benefits of joining one are well documented: "Decades

of research show that social support helps people cope," says psychologist Barry J. Jacobs, coauthor with Julia L. Mayer of AARP Meditations for Caregivers. "Caregivers often can't speak openly with family members about their emotional reactions, and a support group provides a relative degree of anonymity." They're run by businesses for their employees, faith institu-

tions, medical centers, disease associations, adult day-care centers and local social service agencies, among other organiza- tions. Some are for people caring for loved ones with specific medical conditions, while others are more generally focused.

Different kinds of support groups to consider

Condition-specific groups. These include groups for people caring for loved ones with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease; Al- zheimer's and dementia; cancer; diabetes; fibromyalgia and chronic pain; heart and stroke conditions; multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

Groups targeting different kinds of caregivers. They might bring together people in specific caregiving situations/relation- ships, such as those caring for a spouse or partner, or adult children caring for elderly parents. Other groups are for mil- lennials, men, Spanish speakers and more.

Peer-led support groups. The Well Spouse Association, with about 30 support groups around the country, was founded 25 years ago when caregivers often felt invisible, says Dorothy Saunders, association copresident, a caregiver for 40 years and a support group leader. "We've been in their shoes, and we can share. Someone may be thinking, 'I'm really losing my patience. I'm always at his beck and call.' That's normal," Saunders says.

Groups led by a trained facilitator. The facilitator could be a social worker, clergy person or psychologist who helps keep the discussion on track and stop one person from monopoliz- ing the conversation. They also should be able to steer par- ticipants toward useful educational programs with elder law or legal aid attorneys, adult day-care providers and other professionals.

Online and telephone caregiver groups. These groups can offer priceless support to people who can't travel to a face-to- face meeting, or need to talk to someone during off-hours. (The middle of the night can be a vulnerable time for many people; the Caregiver Action Network's forums and other online re- sources are often at their busiest between 2 and 3 a.m.)

Support groups for young caregivers. These serve an often- overlooked subset of the family caregiver population, people under the age of 18. (There are more than you may suspect: About 1,100 middle and high school students caring for ill, elderly or disabled family members participate in the Caregiving Youth Project in Palm Beach County, Fla., for example.)

causes any STRUCTURE to break down Pain

Numbness/Tingling Dizziness Arthritis Headaches

The body’s foundation is the head and

starts to break down.

Logical. Simple.


Triad Upper Cervical Clinic 432A W. Mountain St.,


336.992.2536 M. Chad McIntyre, D.C. offers Orientation Classes at his office twice per month

JANUARY 2021 9

upper cervical spine. When it shifts out of balance, the body

Ignoring the FOUNDATION

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