HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —
Adjusting to spending this much time at home is hard for some. But, it can be even harder for those with disabilities and their families; who, in most cases, are acting as full-time caregivers during the pandemic.
One local group is doing everything they can to help.
United Cerebral Palsy Huntsville has been posting helpful videos online and reaching out to family members in their network who are caring for loved ones with a disability.
Unfortunately, because of social distancing guidelines, many professional in-home caregivers can no longer come inside the homes to relieve family members and assist them with care.
Some might be feeling overwhelmed.
UCP Huntsville normally offers free in-person caregiver training. Now, they’re performing welfare calls and virtual counseling for family members who just need a little bit of help through their partnered program, Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network.
Tracy Cieniewicz is the Sustainability Director with UCP Huntsville. She tells our reporter that "caregiver burnout" is real, and is an even higher concern during the pandemic. Cieniewicz tells us the online videos help support family members who are now acting as full-time caregivers. She says, “You know, caring for the caregiver. Teaching you how important it is for you to care of yourself as a caregiver so you don’t get burned out. So you’re able to keep your loved one at home, as long as it’s possible for them to stay at home and to also prevent abuse and neglect… unfortunately those are things that can happen if we get burned out as a caregiver.”
Cieniewicz tells us that if locals participate in their online seminars, they could earn up to five hours of in-home care by a professional caregiver, once social distancing restrictions are lifted.
For more information on UCP Huntsville resources during COVID-19, or to get in contact with a representative, click here.