National Family Caregivers Month, celebrated every November, is a time to acknowledge and honor the millions of family caregivers across the nation. The Caregiver Action Network is a great resource for caregivers, offering tips and advice on everything from managing caregiver stress to understanding the ins and outs of Medicare.
Even though millions of Americans will find themselves at some point being caregivers, knowing where to turn for help isn’t easy. Navigating the healthcare system is often difficult and medical providers don’t always understand the challenges that families face.
Caregiving has its joys and emotional rewards, but it also has stresses that can take a serious toll on a caregiver’s mental and physical health. It’s normal at times to feel isolated, angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed. But when there’s no relief from pressures and responsibilities, caregivers may suffer from depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and even develop physical illnesses. Staying healthy and resilient benefits the caregiver and the person receiving care.
Ways that caregivers can take care of themselves include the following:
- Join a support group.
- Reach out to us to help with care management tasks to lighten your load.
- If you or your spouse are working, find out if an employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs can often assist you in finding resources in your community.
- Take advantage of meal and grocery delivery and other non-medical home care services when possible.
- Carve out time each week to shut down from caregiving and focus on yourself.
- Stay in contact with friends and reach out to others who are supportive. Accept offers of help.
- Stay on top of your own health needs. Don’t neglect your own mental or physical health and see a healthcare provider if you’re feeling sick, anxious, depressed, have trouble sleeping or eating, or are due for a physical, immunizations, or other screenings.
- Set boundaries with your time and energy. Learn to ‘just say no’ to requests that only put extra pressure on you.
Daily health and wellness also has a surprising effect on managing care giver stress. Eating healthy foods and getting adequate sleep and exercise are things we take for granted but essential when caring for others. Be kind to yourself and recognize that you’re doing the best that you can.
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 765-341-9295 or email us at Shannon@AgingLifeCareConsultants.com. We’ll be happy to assist!