Monday, September 05, 2016
Caregivers need care sometimes too
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller
This should be the mantra of every person who becomes a caregiver. Providing care for a loved one can be very rewarding but also very stressful and exhausting.
According to estimates from the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are 44.4 million American caregivers (21 percent of the adult population) age 18 and older who provide unpaid care to an adult age 18 or older. Sometimes caregivers are so focused on caring for their loved one they fail to notice problems in their own health. According to one study, caregivers revealed that their most important unmet needs were finding time for themselves, managing emotional and physical stress, and balancing work and family responsibilities.
Caregiver stress is a significant and complicated issue. Here are some tips to relieve caregiver stress:
• Accept help from others. Make a list of things that would relieve some of the burden, then let those offering help choose what they want to do from your list. Let them feel good about helping and supporting you.
• Speak up. Don’t expect people to automatically know what you’re feeling. Involve as many people as you can to share the responsibility.
• Take some respite time for yourself. Arrange for someone else to take over caregiving duties for a bit while you get a manicure, go out to a movie theater, do whatever makes you happy. Professional home health care workers get time off - why shouldn‘t you?
• Don’t strive for perfection — accept that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Make a list of things that are “absolutely necessary” and let other, non-essential things go.
On Saturday, Sept 24, Backus Hospital will sponsor a Care for Caregivers Day at the Sprague Community Center, 22 W. Main St. in Baltic, from 1-3 p.m. This free event will feature yoga and mini-massage therapy sessions, information on available community resources, and an opportunity to network with other caregivers. Call 860.822.6595 to register. Join us as we support each other to minimize caregiver stress.
Alice Facente is a community health education nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal health care provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at www.healthydocs.blogspot.com or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at firstname.lastname@example.org.