Are you a caregiver for a family member or friend and experiencing stress, sadness, difficulty with organizing and delegating tasks, feeling isolated and unsupported? Are you frustrated with the complexity of medical and community service providers and wanting help to understand and navigate the health system?
Caregiver counselling, as well as case management and health system navigation (see below), is a specialty of my practice. I provide a comprehensive approach to caregiver needs including emotional support, problem solving, stress management, grief counselling, case management/health system navigation and psychotherapy as needed.
As someone who is both a caregiver and a mental health professional in this area, I know what you’re going through and how to help you with these challenges.
As a caregiver, you may be experiencing one or more of the following issues:
- Changes in sleep patterns, diet and energy level
- Changes in your relationship/family role
- Financial stress
- Environmental barriers within the home
- Occupational changes/stress
- Grief (related to loss/changes in relationship and anticipatory grief)
- Confusion about health system navigation
- Decreased support from or breakdown in social and/or family support
If you’re experiencing any of the above issues related to your caregiving, I will work collaboratively with you in the following areas to improve your caregiving and overall mental health:
A comprehensive assessment is initiated at the first counselling session to account for all the stress-causing factors and precise areas in your situation that require attention and change. This includes details of your loved one’s physical/medical issues, the ways in which you are affected, home environment and financial challenges, and social and community factors (e.g., isolation, lack of connection to community services).
Caregiver stress can manifest itself in several ways (e.g., changes in diet, sleep, irritability, increased worrying, fatigue). You will learn to improve your self-care and a variety of techniques to manage the physical and psychological aspects of stress (e.g., relaxation techniques, mindfulness, linking to peer support and community supports).
We will review and build on your knowledge of health, community and/or social services to ensure you are connected to the right services and supports. These may include services for both the caregiver and family member.
Grief is an often-overlooked area of distress for caregivers and requires a special focus. You may be experiencing more than one type of loss, such as loss in social connection, changes in your loved-one’s health status, decreased work performance and changes in other important relationships. I will help you address and process these issues as you learn to embrace and adjust to the “new normal” of each place along the caregiving journey.
There are aspects of the caregiving relationship that can be gratifying and reflect the deep commitment we feel toward a family member/care receiver. Caregivers bring their own unique strengths to this relationship and when these strengths are identified, they can be built on to increase resilience and decrease stress.
Caregiver Action Plan
We will develop a personalized action plan that puts it all together. Clients will benefit from a goal-focused, prioritized plan that enables caregivers to act in the present and plan for the future.