Are you a caregiver? You might not think of yourself this way, but many of us help elderly, sick, or chronically impaired family members and friends every day. It’s a major act of love, but it can feel like an obligation when you’re managing the needs of someone else on top of your own busy work and family schedules. Many people experience stress, exhaustion, and even frustration at times. These feelings can take a heavy toll on your health if left unaddressed.
November is National Caregivers Month, and we want to honor and recognize all of you who sacrifice to help a loved one. Whether you’re are new to this role or have been a caregiver for a long time, here are 10 tips from the Caregiving Action Network that will help you better manage your time, your own well-being, and your loved one’s care.
- Find a support system in family, friends, or other caregivers. Know that you are not alone!
- Don’t neglect your own health. Schedule regular checkups, get plenty of rest, and manage your stress levels. Here are some things you can do when you're feeling overwhelmed.
- Respite breaks are a necessity, not a luxury. Take them when you need them.
- Watch out for signs of depression and seek professional help when you need it.
- Say “yes” when someone offers to help, and suggest specific things that they can do.
- Educate yourself on your loved one’s condition and how to communicate effectively with medical professionals.
- Be open to technology and ideas that promote your loved one’s independence.
- Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
- Make sure your loved one’s legal and financial records are in order.
- Give yourself credit for a job well done. Caregiving is hard work!
Visit the Caregiving Action Network for more information, education, and support for family caregivers across the country.