Psychologists as Educators

Introduction

Whether teaching within traditional academic settings, such as undergraduate and graduate schools and at large professional conferences, or at community-based events, such as church-based caregiver support groups and regional caregiver conferences, psychologists provide education about family caregiving to a broad array of groups. In so doing, they raise professional and public awareness about caregiving’s varied challenges and caregivers’ diverse needs.

The educational topics covered by psychologists frequently include but are not limited to the following:

  • Definition of family caregiving
  • Profiles of typical family caregivers
  • Specific caregiver sub-populations (e.g., dementia caregivers, parents of chronically ill children, siblings of developmentally disabled adults)
  • Cultural differences in caregiving patterns and practices among various racial, ethnic and religious groups
  • Research findings on the psychological, medical and financial consequences of short- and long-term family caregiving
  • Evidenced-based psychotherapeutic and programmatic interventions for supporting family caregivers
  • Evidence-based “tips” for family caregivers to help care for themselves, including stress management and utilizing social supports
  • Guidance on the available local and national resources for supporting family caregivers’ efforts
  • Specific skills, including how to reach consensus among family members about a sustainable caregiving plan and how to communicate effectively with healthcare and social service professionals
  • Information about particular psychological issues, including positive meaning-making, coping with uncertainty, maximizing sexual functioning and the stages of the caregiving “career”
  • Information about particular clinical situations, including the acute phase of a loved one’s diagnosis, living with the impact of chronic disabilities, and end-of-life care
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