Care for the caregiver

Caregivers are those who care for others because they either can’t care for themselves or need assistance to carry out everyday tasks.

The job of caregiving, while a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor, is fraught with stress and requires an incredible amount of patience and understanding. This holds true if you are caring for a loved one at home or working in the health care industry.

Sometimes the individuals being cared for suffer from memory loss or have lost some physical ability. Sometimes they have medical issues that need to be tended to daily. They can require help with daily essentials such as cooking, cleaning, bathing or using the bathroom, while others may require administration of medicine or transportation. Some require round-the-clock care, giving little rest to their caretakers.

Unfortunately, stress among caregivers is extremely common. Caregivers often try to do everything by themselves, which eventually leaves them worn out and unable to fully attend to everything they are expected to do. Furthermore, ignoring the symptoms of stress can affect physical and mental health and lead to burnout.

One of the best ways to find solutions is by education. Sometimes learning a different approach or talking with other caregivers can provide valuable ideas that may work for you as you are caring for others. A caregiver conference will be from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19. This conference is for family and professional caregivers. Registration begins at 9 a.m.

The Alzheimer’s Association, in conjunction with the Dementia Care Network of Sheboygan County, will present “SHINE!” — an educational conference for family and professional caregivers — at Blue Harbor Conference Center, 725 Blue Harbor Drive, Sheboygan.

The conference will feature several keynote addresses, including “Reversible versus Irreversible Types of Dementia,” by Dr. Diane Mosnik, clinical neuropsychologist, Medical Psychology Associates, Glendale and Milwaukee; and “Caregiving, Humor, Music and More!” presented by Jack Kile, Ph.D., professor emeritus, UW-Oshkosh. Workshops of various topics will be offered. Exhibitors and sponsors will be available to explain local services and resources.

Early registration is encouraged. Cost of the conference is $10. To register, call 920-838-1311 or email

For more about the Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter, visit

Dawn Wittig, RN, is founder of Tender Hearts Senior Care.