Tuesday Caregiving Tips, 09/23/14
The following tips come from my personal experience in several of these areas with my caregiving experiences and from the Mayo Clinic’s Stress Management Web Site from 09/23/14 located at; http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784?pg=1
Strategies for dealing with caregiver stress
The emotional and physical demands involved with caregiving can strain even the most resilient person. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of available help and support. These strategies have helped others manage their caregiver stress:
- Accept help. Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you.
- Focus on what you are able to provide. Don’t give in to guilt. Feeling guilty is normal, no one is a “perfect” caregiver.
- Get connected. Organizations such as the Red Cross and the Alzheimer’s Association offer classes on caregiving, and local hospitals may have classes specifically about the disease your loved one is facing.
- Join a support group. A support group can be a great source for encouragement and advice from others in similar situations.
- Seek social support. Make an effort to stay emotionally connected with family and friends. Set aside time each week for socializing, when possible, make plans that get you out of the house.
- Set personal health goals. For example, set a goal to find time to be physically active on most days of the week. It’s also crucial to eat a healthy diet.
- See your doctor. Get recommended immunizations and screenings. Make sure to tell your doctor that you’re a caregiver.
It may be hard to imagine leaving your loved one in someone else’s care, but taking a break is one of the best things you can do for yourself as well as the person you’re caring for. Most communities have some type of respite care available, such as:
- Adult care centers. Many adult care centers are located in churches or community centers. Some care centers provide care for both older adults and young children, and the two groups may spend time together.
- Day hospitals. These hospitals provide medical care during the day. In the evening, your loved one returns home.
- In-home respite. Health care aids come to your home to provide companionship, nursing services or both.
- Short-term nursing homes. Some assisted living homes, memory care facilities and nursing homes accept people needing care for short stays while caregivers are away.
The caregiver who works outside the home
- Two-thirds of caregivers work outside of the home. Juggling work responsibilities and caregiving isn’t easy, and employed caregivers experience high levels of caregiver stress.
- Learn to delegate. Share your work — and home — responsibilities with others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Investigate support services. Ask your human resources department about resources your company offers, such as support lines or referral services.
- Keep information flowing. Keep an open line of communication with your supervisor and co-workers.
REMEMBER: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
Rather than struggling on your own, take advantage of local resources for caregivers. To get started, contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA), the Red Cross or check hospitals or online support groups to learn about services in your community most never find. Go online an enter words such as, “caregiver”, “caregiver support & your state” or even put in, “caregiving and taxes” and you will be surprised at the number of hits you get with amazing amounts of information. Stand up and make sure you are also caring for you. Most caregivers get so into the giving part, their time, energy, space, friends, sometimes family and work that they forget the, “Caring” part. You give to your caree but you need to also care for the giver. Take the time out for you and your own relationships with your husband/wife, sons/daughters, brothers and sisters. Remember, your not the only one going through this, the pain being felt by your caree is also being felt by everyone else in the house. You don’t want to lose your support group, do you?
Richard is a trifecta caregiver, along with his wife he cares for himself, with Chronic Back Pain which he’s had for 21 years. He cares for his brother in-law, Robert who lives with him and who has dealt with Epilepsy his entire life. He also advocates for his mother who has various cardiac related issues, severe hearing loss and other medical issues. You can read about his experiences with chronic pain and how he deals with his mothers and brother in-law’s issues on PickYourPain.org or at Caregiving.com. He is also involved in several of Caregiving.com’s support groups and chat rooms, he is co-host of an internet based radio show about caregiving. Richard is also a patient advisor, board member for Intake.me which is working to improve the intake process at medical facilities. Richard has three adult children who despite them having to deal with his medical issues, he says, “They have turned out better than I’d hoped for.”