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When Caregiving is Over: The Well-Being of Caregivers
of Parents with Dementia

By Marla Berg-Weger, Ph.D., LCSW, Doris McGartland Rubio, Ph.D.
Susan Tebb, Ph.D., LSW and Lisa A. Parnell, MSW 

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Professionals working in the area of caregiving and caregivers themselves can use such a research finding to engage pre-, active and post-caregivers in discussions about financial management. Such dialogue may include the development of a budget, financial planning, employment status and/or seeking financial support for outside sources. 

In applying the lessons learned from this research effort, the following strategies may be helpful for professionals and caregivers striving to promote well-being among caregivers at all stages of caregiving from a strengths-based perspective:

1) Assessment—Conduct regular and ongoing assessments of caregiver well-being. The Caregiver Well-Being Scale is a tool that can be used with individual caregivers and multiple members of a caregiving team at various points along the caregiving continuum. The scale can highlight the pre- and current caregiver’s strengths and resources, while, at the same time, aid the professional and the caregiver in developing strategies for change. Using the scale on a routine basis can help the caregiver(s) realize improvements and areas for continued work. For the former caregiver, the scale can be a working assessment of his/her navigation through the post-caregiving and bereavement period.

2) Intervention—Strengths-based interventions aimed at enhancing the 
caregiver’s well-being can flow from the ongoing assessment. Professionals and caregivers can determine the most viable ways in which to operationalize the intervention(s). Priorities may be altered with changes in the care-recipient and/or caregiver status and external environment; therefore, practitioners should re-visit the assessment and intervention process on a regular basis. Examples include activities related to:

  • Establishing realistic goals and expectations related to caregiving

  • Developing and creating assets and resources of the caregiver, care-recipient and support system

  • Confronting challenges to well-being (obstacles and weaknesses)

  • Identifying formal and informal needs and ways to access help

  • Prioritizing self-care goals and strategies for achieving those goals

  • Feelings about being a caregiving, to include positive and negative

  • Time management in caregiving and, in general

  • Ways caregiver spend his/her leisure time

  • The future—life beyond caregiving (social, emotional and financial)

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