Family Resources on Being a Caregiver

Lesson Topic

Students will consider and discuss positive ways to deal with stress.

Essential Question

What are positive choices I can make to deal with stress?

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Being a Caregiver – Amanda

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students learned about difficult lifetime situations and stress. In class students discussed stress and how to deal with stressful major life changes (such as being the caregiver for an older adult). In groups students discussed stressful life situations and assessed positive and negative ways that youth can choose to deal with stress; then students developed positive plans for dealing with a stressful major life situation

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features a youth named Amanda whose mother has a terminal illness. Amanda and her sister are heavily involved in caregiving activities for their mother (like medical visits and chores that their mother can no longer do). Amanda discusses what it is like taking care of her mother and knowing that her mother will die while Amanda is young. Despite this stressful life situation, Amanda spends time involved in positive outlets and maintains a positive outlook.

Conversation notes:
While many people will be adults before they face the stressful responsibilities of caregiving for a parent or family member, Amanda is experiencing this as a teenager. This lesson encourages discussion about stress, aging, and being a caregiver.

One of the resources used in the lesson is a guide to managing stress from the Healthy Children website:

Teenaged caregiving responsibility is often a hidden problem. Some basic statistics are available from the American Psychological Association (APA):

The APA also published this information brief about caregiving youth:

Michelle Hanson writes about her personal experience being a teenaged caregiver:

For further reading about childhood grief from The WARM Place:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What strategies did your group develop for dealing with stress? Why do you think this strategy (or these strategies) would be effective? What are some of the unique issues that could come up when being a caregiver for a parent? Why do you think so?

Have you ever thought about the responsibilities of a caregiver for an older relative? List the responsibilities you can think of. Why is it important to discuss possible caregiving responsibilities now?

Do you know anyone in the community who is a caregiver? What are the things this person does?
Why is it important for this person to do this? Is there something our family should be doing to help
this person? Why or why not?

Why is being a caregiver stressful? What kinds of support do you think a caregiver needs? Why?

School to Home Resources on Being a Caregiver

Lesson Plan

Amanda respects her mother

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Amanda says, “I don’t think I treat her differently because there’s a possibility she would die, I think I’d treat her the same because I do respect her”. Describe an example of how Amanda demonstrates her respect for her mother. Why do you think Amanda says she respects her mother?

Sometimes things are difficult

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Amanda says, “I do this extra stuff and sometimes I can’t go out because my sister is already out and I have to stay with my mom in case she needs something. It’s a hard life, it’s a good life but it’s a hard life”. How do you think Amanda deals with the difficulties she faces? Why do you think it is important for Amanda to maintain a positive outlook?

Positive and negative ways to deal with stress

Take a look at this webpage from the American Academy of Pediatrics discussing teen stress. Describe a positive way that you deal with stress. Why does this work for you? Could this work for others? Why or why not?

Tips for teens on dealing with stress

Read this article from the Mindful website blog focused on school stress. What tip from the list could you use the next time you feel stressed? Why do you think so? What stress situations do you have that you can control? What do you worry about that is outside of your control? Why is learning to identify the stressors in your life important to keeping stress from becoming toxic?

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