November is National Caregiver Month! Caregivers play an important role in the lives of people across all walks of life. Here are our top 5 tips for caregivers:
- What you do matters
Caregiving is an extremely important job. It is a sacrifice, a gift, and an act of love that helps your loved one have a better quality of life. Caregivers not only physically and emotionally support their loved one, but they are giving a gift to the entire family, and reducing the financial burden of caregiving on society. Take a moment to truly appreciate what you do!
- You aren’t alone – you can always talk to someone
Being a caregiver can be lonely and isolating at times, but you are in good company. Statistics show that over 34 million Americans were unpaid caregivers in this past year. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, neighbors, co-workers and other family to get some connection. There are also support groups, online blogs and many caring professionals that are available to talk. You don’t need to do this alone.
- You can take a break
Caregiving can be overwhelming and exhausting at times. As your loved one gets more impaired, it’s more physical and emotional work for you. Look into options for relief such as paid caregivers, adult day care programs, and respite care. Often times there are family members or friends that would be willing to help out for a couple hours here or there to give you a chance to take a nap, go to the store or see a movie. Without self-care and rest, it can be very easy for the caregiver to develop health problems which doesn’t help anyone.
- You have limits
You can only do what you can do. Guilt is a major theme with caregivers. We can feel guilty that we are healthy and our loved ones are not. We can feel guilty if we take a break or have fun or practice self-care when a love one is suffering. We can feel like we should have done more when a loved one ultimately declines. There is a limit to your energy, patience and control over your loved ones illness. Be kind to yourself.
- Help is available
Sometimes, even in the best of situations, you need some additional support. It can be challenging as a caregiver to know what to do and when and how to do it. Grief around watching a spouse, parent, sibling, partner, child change and decline can be overwhelming. Sometimes we had a less than perfect relationship with our loved one which can be complex to manage.
In these situations, counseling can help. JFS offers counseling targeting the needs of caregivers to help support you and give you guidance in navigating the sometimes challenging world of caregiving resources.
JFS offers a “Caregiver Support Series” through our Myndworks program. This brief solution focused therapy can be helpful in both getting you on track with a caregiving plan and providing emotional support. If you are interested in getting more information, call us today at 717-233-1681. Most insurances are accepted.