Community Living Initiative Corporation Holds Caregiver Forum - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Community Living Initiative Corporation Holds Caregiver Forum

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MORGANTOWN -

Whether it's caring for a sick, injured or elderly person, caregiving can be a difficult task.

The Community Living Initiative Corporation (CLIC) said 21 percent of adults in the United States are caregivers of another adult. The average is a 49-year-old women taking care of her widowed mother.

Monday afternoon CLIC held a forum for caregivers at Suncrest United Methodist Church in Morgantown teaching them how to better care for their loved ones.

Vaughn Michael took notes.

"Been married for 57-years," said Michael. "We've had a wonderful, wonderful life together. It's been a beautiful relationship."

Vaughn Michael juggles a number of hats. As the caregiver for his wife diagnosed with Alzheimer's being the superman he expects himself to be is sometimes tough.

"I think the real difficulty with me is you do have to be present, monitor what she's about and do it in a caring way so she's doesn't feel that she's totally helpless," said Michael.

Helping loved ones is first nature, but sometimes doing too much is bad for everyone. Doing everything from helping someone get a drink, to getting out a chair can be a tall task for a caregiver and can make the other feel helpless.

"What we should be doing is seeing if there is an assistive device, that will help that individual maintain their independence and do their activities of daily living on their own," said Regina Mayolo of CLIC.

In many cases there are assistive devices for anything from turning on lights to getting in and out of a chair.

If your loved one is more independent, you can take time to focus on yourself. Most importantly, your health.

"If something happens to you, what you end up with is a loved one who ends up in a situation where they don't have someone to help them," said Mayolo.

As a Chaplain by trade, Michael is professional in his own right.

"I know in my head what I should be doing. Which is exercise, eating well, meditating, praying," said Michael.

But he finds some days to be harder than others. That's why he and his wife have developed their perfect medicine.

"She laughs a lot, and we laugh a lot," said Michael. "We've learned to integrate humor, along with our faith, so we try to take each day as it comes. Because as she says, that's all we got, we got the now and present."

Safety for a loved one is also important.

CLIC recommends removing trip hazards like rugs. Also make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

Lighting may need improved as well. Special light bulbs can make metal lamps into touch lamps, and remote controlled outlets can allow people to turn on their lights without fumbling around for a knob or switch.

CLICL also recommends lights on a motion sensor in areas like the front door.