This November, National Family Caregivers Month celebrates the sacrifices that caregivers make every day. Let's review how caregivers can tend to their own health and happiness.
The role of caregiver changes lives, often in unexpected ways. Although others depend on you, it's important that you find ways to avoid depression or illness during this busy time. By caring for yourself properly, you can continue giving the vital care that your loved one needs, as well as enjoying a fulfilling life.
- Remember the basics. Eating right, exercising regularly and sleeping well add up to a strong foundation for your health.
- Fitness is key. Physical strength enables you to do your job and feel great, too. Pushing a wheelchair or heavy lifting requires muscle, so if you experience any kind of injury, see a physician right away.
- Take a vacation. Many caregivers don't rest for fear of seeming selfish. But experiencing fun and friendship is a necessary source of refreshment.
- Delegate! Before you find yourself swamped, ask someone to take on specific tasks. A friend or family member will feel great about giving care, too.
- Build a support network. You are not alone. Support groups in your community offer resources for caregivers and a chance to meet others in your situation. The Family Caregiver Alliance lists several online support groups.
- An expert can help. If you're exhausted, you may feel dissatisfied or angry. Instead of allowing these feelings to escalate, seek the relief you deserve. Therapists can talk you through challenges and help you satisfy your own needs.
- Accentuate the positive. On a daily basis, remind yourself why you are giving care and give yourself credit for the kind service you provide. This experience is valuable; understanding that will keep you upbeat.
- Be yourself. Maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle, full of hobbies and friendships, strengthens you throughout the hardest of times. Don't sacrifice your values or life goals, but rather give yourself space to dream.
For more information about caregiving, visit the National Family Caregivers Association or visit the Brandon Regional Hospital website. If you have any further questions or need a physician referral, please call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-327-2636.