Are you learning as you go as a family caregiver? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably yes. While you can get information on how to be a caregiver from your loved one’s care manager, doctor, in-home care agency and other resources, you won’t always have time to find answers to questions as they arise.
Fortunately, you can learn about caregiving at home through online family caregiver courses and training, including courses, presentations, video tutorials and webinars on caregiving topics. Read through our selection of the top online resources for family caregivers.
New caregivers are often overwhelmed, trying to figure out new circumstances and information fast, says Kerry Hanslits, marketing representative for Home Sweet Home Care in Smithfield, Virginia, which offers free access to more than 50 family caregiver courses and around 30 videos through its Family Caregiver Education Program.
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“At this point, they’re just trying to deal with the situation,” says Hanslits. “These courses help new caregivers get exposure to things they’ll learn over time, but in the beginning, they often don’t have a clue.”
For instance, how do you handle a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease who becomes aggressive or difficult? How do you move a person safely from the bed to a wheelchair? How do you minimize caregiver stress? You can find answers to these and many other questions through online family caregiver courses and videos, a style of learning that many prefer.
“Different people learn different ways,” says Hanslits. “Some learn best by reading but others learn better visually.” Whether you’re just starting your journey as a family caregiver or you’ve been caregiving for a loved one for a while, online caregiver courses and videos can help you learn.
Here is a sampling of the top online caregiver courses and training for family caregivers:
The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) National Center on Caregiving offers access to more than 40 free, recorded webinars on caregiver topics under categories of daily care, planning for care and self-care. Webinar topics include:
Visit the FCA webinar library to view all webinars available. You can also visit the FCA’s YouTube channel, which offers numerous caregiving topics and videos in English and other languages, including Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Initially created to provide caregiver training for professional caregivers, mmlearn.org has produced more than 300 online caregiver training videos. However, the video collection also provides training to family caregivers.
The mmlearn.org video collection also contains discussions with elder law attorneys, physicians, therapists and other professionals on depression, memory loss and other medical conditions.
Home Sweet Home Care’s Family Caregiver Education Program offers free caregiver courses created by the Institute for Professional Education, a company that creates training materials for professional development. These courses, however, are aimed at family caregivers.
Caregiver course topics include caregiver basics like the aging process, body systems and fall prevention and how to make sure you take care of yourself. You’ll also find video presentations on choking, common chronic conditions and pain, as well as other caregivers’ perspectives and stories. Videos also provide instruction and suggestions for the daily care of a person who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, including creating a calming environment, improving diet and nutrition and learning to communicate.
“These courses carry caregivers through for as long as they need it,” says Hanslits. “It doesn’t cost them anything and it’s a great resource from a company that teaches.”
You can find videos of fellow caregivers talking about their experiences and what they’ve learned at the Caregiver Action Network’s Caregiver Video Resource Center. In these videos, family members share discoveries and describe their journeys through caring for loved ones. The Caregiver Action Network also offers several instructional videos for hands-on care.
CareAware, a caregiver support service of CICOA Aging and In-Home Solutions in central Indiana, also offers a free, six-part video series covering the journey of caregiving; assembling and understanding key documents and dealing with negative emotions and other topics.
Have you used any other online family caregiver courses and training that you found beneficial? We’d like to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Deb Hipp is a freelance writer in Kansas City, Missouri, who specializes in caregiving, aging and senior living.