National Family Caregivers Month is a time to honor and celebrate all those who care for their loved ones. We would especially like to take time this month to recognize and honor those who care for their parents. Shopping, cleaning, bathing, arranging doctor visits, transportation and providing ongoing comfort for aging family members is both rewarding and difficult. Thank you so much for your countless hours of providing care.
While caregiving can be a very rewarding job, it can also be stressful and isolating due to the demands on your time.
Here are some coping tips for caregivers.
1) Seek support from other caregivers. Know that you are not alone. Talking to others who are going through the same thing you are is beneficial.
2) Take care of yourself. While it can be difficult to find time to take care of yourself, it’s hard to take care of others if you are not happy and healthy yourself.
3) Learn how to effectively communicate with doctors. Take notes and keep them somewhere they are easy to find for visits and phone calls. Make sure to ask questions if you are unsure about what the doctor is saying.
4) Take breaks when you can. It can be hard to take a break if it leaves your parent without someone to care for them. However, there are options available for care. Respite care provides short-term care at a care facility or even in the home. Adult daycare is another possible option. Search for options in your area.
5) Make sure legal and medical information is up to date and organized. Keep information in an easy-to-find spot and check regularly to see if anything needs to be updated.
6) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you start to feel overwhelmed, help is available. Reach out to family and friends or seek help from a professional.
7) Continue to learn. Seek out books, support groups or websites that can help you manage your stress and connect with other caregivers.
8) Know that you are doing an incredible job and that your work is important. Your caregiving responsibilities are unpaid, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t valuable. This is a tough job so make sure to give yourself credit.
To all caregivers, thank you for what you are doing every day. Your love and dedication make this world a better place.