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American Red Cross Offers New Guide for Family Caregiving


No one can ever be sure when they may one day be responsible for the daily or even hourly care of another. A parent who is aging, a spouse with a chronic illness, a loved one with a disability resulting from an accident – are all situations where one can suddenly be called on as the caregiver providing regular medical and physical support. Being a caregiver can be challenging but with the proper resources it can be an opportunity to provide comfort and solace when it is needed most. That is why the American Red Cross developed Family Caregiving, a special reference guide and DVD to help people give loved ones and those depending on them the highest quality of care.

Family Caregiving is an essential guide on how to perform regular caregiving tasks with compassion, skill and confidence. The guide provides comprehensive step-by-step instructions on a variety of topics such as preparing a safe living environment; safely administering medications; how to prevent injuries in those less mobile; healthy nutrition and how to deal with important financial and legal issues. Along with the guide’s instructions on vital caregiving skills, the DVD includes first aid training for some of the most common medical emergencies including choking, stroke and heart attack.

“As our population continues to live longer, more and more of us will find ourselves responsible for the day-to-day quality of life for our parents or even spouses,” says Jean Erdtmann, R.N., American Red Cross. “You can only meet their needs – and your own – if you are properly prepared. Family Caregiving gives you the tools and knowledge to make the role of caregiver much easier.”

Not only is Family Caregiving an important resource on how to care for others it also pays particular attention to the health and well being of those giving care. In a special section, Caring for the Caregiver, the guide offers tips on how to identify stress, ways to cope with challenging situations and resources available to help caregivers get through complex times.

“This book helps families navigate the complex world of long-term caregiving, and offers a wide array of useful, straightforward information,” says Kathleen Kelly, executive director of the Family Caregiver Alliance in San Francisco, CA. “Families and caregivers will be encouraged by the prevailing message: ‘You can do this.’ ”

The Family Caregiving guide and DVD is available through Red Cross chapters and the Red Cross online store at

The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.


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