Profiles in caring: Caregivers face a challenging role |

Profiles in caring: Caregivers face a challenging role

Health and Wellness Director Melissa Bray knows how hard it is to be a caregiver and offers the same bit of advice to most of the caregivers with whom she comes into contact at Casey's Pond senior living center.

"I think the biggest piece of advice for families is that you have to make sure that you are not only caring for your loved one, but also yourself," Bray said. "You can't be a good caregiver without caring for yourself first."

In her role at Casey's Pond, she sees a lot of caregivers and has observed that the approach families take to long-term care is nearly as varied as the people the Steamboat Springs facility serves.

"I think every family handles it a little bit differently … I think it is good to make sure you have the support system set up early on, so that you have the opportunity to take breaks and prevent yourself from getting burnt out," Bray said. "It is also important that the person you are caring for has someone else that they can trust."

She said Casey's Pond offers independent living apartments, assisted living, memory care and complete care and rehabilitation at the Doak Walker House.

In addition, the facility is a resource for families caring for a loved one at home, offering stays stretching from just a couple of hours to those who live at the facility year round.

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Lindsey Simbeye, Casey's Pond's marketing and sales director, said the staff at Casey's Pond wants to be a resource for those in long-term care situations and strives to give caregivers information and services that make caring for a loved one as easy as possible.

"A lot of times, what we see with families is that the wife or husband feels like it has to be on their shoulders alone, because they are the significant other," Simbeye said.  "They sometimes forget that they have children, or they have sisters and brothers, or they have that extended family and grandchildren that can all come in and support and help."

Simbeye said she understands that long-term care is a personal decision and one that is different for every family.

But both women agree: It is important to have a strategy early on and to make sure families can ease the stress, not only on the one being cared for, but also on the one doing the caring.