Free Caregiver Training Online (+ Caregiver Daily Log Templates)
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Chances are, even if you’re not a caregiver yourself, you know someone who is. AARP estimates that about one in five Americans — or 21.3% — are caregivers. (That’s up from 18.2% five years ago, and the number of caregivers continues to increase each year.)
These are the more than 50 million Americans who take on the sometimes thankless role of comforting an aging parent, looking after a friend living with an illness or disability or helping a neighbor with household chores.
Often, caregivers are thrust into the role with very little warning or preparation, and that can feel overwhelming and scary. Here are a number of places where you can receive free caregiver training online, whether you’re looking to complete a training course or simply watch helpful videos:
Additionally, check out this printable caregiver daily log and 365-day caregiver self-care tracker to make the job a little easier. (Editor’s Tip: Caregiving costs can add up! Check out these handy senior discounts for savings on food, clothes, entertainment and just about anything else.)
Free Online Caregiver Courses
When you don’t know where to start in terms of learning how to be a good caregiver, you might look to an online training program that guides you through many different topics and includes exercises and assessments along the way. There are various paid courses geared toward professional caregivers, but here are a number of free courses for family and friend caregivers:
Advance Learning: Understand how to prevent and treat infections, promote nutrition best practices and respond to different types of medical emergencies in this course that can be completed in under three hours.
CareAcademy: Through this quick 30-minute “Essential Skills for Family Caregivers” course, learn about infection control, nutrition, communication, senior transportation, self-care and burnout.
CareAware: Learn caregiving tips from experts and experienced caregivers through this six-part video series that also presents discussion questions and additional resources to explore.
Generations Home Care: Follow along with more than 40 hours of interactive training, including a comprehensive section dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Home Sweet Home Care Inc.: Access more than 40 hours of training centered around how to take care of senior loved ones: everything from memory loss and aging to handling difficult situations and promoting independence. (Editor’s tip: Check out these 45 free smartphone apps for promoting senior independence.)
Love 2 Live: Explore a variety of professionally designed online courses on many different topics: communicating effectively, understanding senior rights, promoting healthy nutrition and hydration habits, administering emergency first aid, promoting mobility and more.
University of Cape Town: Learn how best to care for, educate and empower children living with intellectual disabilities in this 14-hour course called “Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability: Circles of Care and Education.”
University of Colorado: Improve your empathy and communication skills with those who are experiencing significant suffering through this palliative care course that includes several real-life examples.
University of Pennsylvania: In this course called “Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us,” learn about the normal ranges and variants of heart rates, blood pressures, body temperatures and respiration rates and how to measure them in others.
Technion — Israel Institute of Technology: Tune into this 24-hour course that examines the role of traditional herbal medicine in cancer care and features interviews with medical experts from around the world.
Free Caregiver Training Videos
If you don’t have time to complete an entire course on caregiving, you might try watching a video or two. Check out these videos on everything from managing medications and using a bedpan correctly to combating senior loneliness and developing a balanced nutrition plan. (Editor’s tip: Worried that eating healthily can be expensive? Explore our guide to how seniors can eat healthy, balanced meals on a budget.)
American Cancer Society: Explore the organization’s caregiver support video series for short, easy-to-understand explanations of medication management, drain care and cancer’s side effects.
AARP: Browse the organization’s how-to video series and learn more about how to operate medical equipment like nebulizers and mechanical lifts, build a healthy diet, manage incontinence, treat certain skin tears and wounds, manage medications and prepare your home for safe mobility.
Caregiver Action Network: Choose a video on general care or one about specific diseases and disorders, like Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and COPD.
Family Caregiver Alliance: If you like short, digestible videos (about one hour each), check out these webinars that cover legal and financial issues, daily care and caregiver self-care, among other topics. There are new webinars added regularly.
Hospice of the Western Reserve: Explore the nonprofit’s YouTube channel for demonstrations on how to care for those who are bed-bound.
Morningside Ministries: Learn from geriatric psychologists, medical experts and elder law attorneys about a variety of topics from senior loneliness and music therapy to medication management and estate planning best practices.
Partners on the Path: For the times you feel discouraged or need a little bit of a boost, check out this seven-part video series called “Caring for the Caregiver.”
University of Nevada: Check out the university’s Geriatric Education Series and its “Advance Care Planning” video for information about living wills, advance directives, hospice, end of life care services and “do not resuscitate” and “do not intubate” orders, among other topics.
Visiting Nurse Service of New York: Explore step-by-step videos on making your home safer for senior loved ones, making your loved one feel comfortable and safe, and ensuring that your loved ones’ end-of-life wishes are carried out.
Free Online Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Resources
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that more than five million Americans live with Alzheimer’s Disease. Meanwhile, 16 million Americans currently provide unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and will provide nearly 19 billion hours of care in 2020. Here are some online Alzheimer’s and dementia care resources:
Advance Learning: Identify the symptoms of various dementias and explore best practices for communicating with and caring for those living with them.
Alzheimer’s Association: Learn what to expect as you care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias with courses and videos focused on legal and financial planning, communication strategies, healthy living and the latest scientific research.
Johns Hopkins University: Gain a theoretical and practical understanding of how to care for those living with dementia through the “Living with Dementia: Impact on Individuals, Caregivers, Communities and Societies” course, which includes five modules, each lasting about three to five hours.
Morningside Ministries: In addition to learning more about dementia care, hear from other caregivers about their personal experiences and struggles.
UCLA Health: Browse a comprehensive collection of videos based on different behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias, such as aggressive language, refusal to bathe, repetitive questions or phone calls, and sleep disturbances. The videos are available in English or Spanish and subtitled in French, Korean, Vietnamese, Hungarian and Macedonian.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health: Check out the Caregivers Video Series, which includes short videos about communication, maintaining intimacy, prioritizing self-care and other topics.
Online Caregiver Support Groups
When you’re taking care of others, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Luckily, you’re never alone! There are many online caregiver support groups where you can share stories and struggles with other caregivers and ask for advice. Here are some popular ones:
Caregivers Connect: 5,000+ members; general caregiver support
Caregiver Support Community: 1,000+ members; general caregiver support (required to share your story upon joining)
Memory People: 22,000+ members; Alzheimer’s/dementia support group
Working Daughter: 3,000+ members; women caregiver support group
Caregiving can be tough emotionally and physically, but certain tools can better equip you for the job. Check out this printable daily log template to track how your loved one is doing over time and this 365-day self-care tracker to check in with yourself.
Printable Caregiver Daily Log Template
When the days seem to blend together, and you can’t remember when your loved one last took a nap or what medication needs to be taken next, you might try keeping a daily log.
Keep track of important sleep, food, health and exercise information with this printable log. Print out enough copies for each day of the week and put together a binder with your daily updates.
Download the caregiver daily log.
Caregiver Self-Care Tracker
As a caregiver, you might feel joy, gratitude and a renewed sense of purpose. According to AARP’s Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 report, 51% of caregivers agree or strongly agree with the idea that caregiving gives them a sense of purpose or meaning in their lives.
At the same time, caregiving can also conjure up feelings of anger, guilt, sadness and loneliness. The AARP report found that about 21% of caregivers feel alone.
It can be helpful to track how you’re feeling each day and visualize that over an entire year. That way, you can determine if you’re just going through a rough patch right now or if you’ve been feeling down for awhile. Similarly, you can pinpoint why you’re feeling especially good and try to keep it up.
Using this 365-day self-care tracker, assign a color to each of the common caregiver feelings in the key and shade in the appropriate color each day based on how you’re feeling. After a couple of months, you’ll have a good idea of how your emotions are progressing.
Download the caregiver self-care tracker.
Everyone’s caregiving situation is a little different, but, at the same time, every caregiver also shares many of the same experiences — whether it’s the inspiring act of caring for someone who once cared for you or the frustration and guilt that can bubble up when you say something you didn’t mean to someone you love.
Know that there are plenty of online resources out there when you need a helping hand. (Editor’s tip: Looking for a fun activity with your loved one to break up the monotony of being at home? Explore these ways to decorate your small space with plants, volunteer virtually or bring home a new furry friend to keep you company. Don’t forget these PetSmart coupons and deals for potential savings.)
We hope that you found this blog helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, financial or mental health advice. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional. Capital One Shopping does not endorse or guarantee any information or recommendation listed above.