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"Caring for the Caregiver" workshops

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The caregivers of loved ones who can't take care of themselves, started on the first workshop on how to handle that tough job. The "Caring for the Caregiver" seminars are divided into three sessions at the Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton. The goal over the next two weeks is to give the caregivers more tools in helping their loved ones. Some are taking care of someone with Alzheimer's or someone who has suffered a stroke. But they all need help doing simple, everyday tasks.

The heart of these workshops was Angelica Brittingham. She's a registered nurse who has had personal experience, and is a regular volunteer in hospice care.

At the first session, they talked about how the caregivers should take care of themselves, and physical therapists gave a demonstration on ways to help their loved one with simple tasks that might be difficult for them.

For the next few weeks, she's just hoping to make the caregivers' life easier.

"You need to go out and ask for help," said Brittingham.

Brittingham says that is the number one tip to any new caregiver that asks her for advice.

"Because we cannot do it alone,” said Brittingham. “And if we are not letting other people know that we need help, we're not going to get any help. So we need to ask for help. I think that is something that is so difficult for caregivers."

The caregivers that filled up the room on Monday night, came for their loved one who can no longer take care of themselves.

Nancy Eakins came to learn more about helping her parents, who are in their 90s. Her mother has Alzheimer's and her father falls easily.

"They took care of me, so I take care of them," said Eakins.

Along with home care, Eakins is the main caregiver for her parents.

"I usually come in about 8:30 or 9 or so,” said Eakins. “And then lately it's been about 4 or 5 that I leave. And if I need to come back in town, I live North of Lawton, well we get in and we come and help if my dad happens to fall or whatever."

Eakins says this is a role that she didn't know she was going to take.

"It comes on to you and you do not realize it until later, but you just got to know it can happen at any time," said Eakins.

Brittingham says not all caregivers get to prepare or choose to become one.

"Many times you are thrown into that role,” said Brittingham. “There is a change or of a sudden. Your husband has a stroke, you end up bringing him home. You didn't expect it. You fall into this caregiver role from one day to the other so you don't really have time to go out and look for resources."

Brittingham says there are many different ways and reasons the caregiver's role begins, but she hopes with this workshop that they leave confident that they can take care of their loved one.

"To be able to help somebody, and we make it a little easier on someone else,” said Brittingham. “I have been on their side where it is difficult, and so that is what I want to do. I just want to make it easier on someone else with the knowledge that I have."

Next workshop is October 10 at Great Plains Technology Center in the Worley Seminar Center. They will talk about healthcare and explain advance directive and DNR.

The final workshop is October 17, and the different organizations and companies that can offer help will each talk about their resources.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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