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Stress Busting Tips for Caregivers

Stress-Busting Tips for Caregivers

No matter how much you love your elderly relative, caregiving can take a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally. Statistics show that 44 million Americans provide unpaid care to a family member. Most caregivers are middle-aged and 59 percent have full-time jobs in addition to caring for another person. Many baby boomers find themselves in the challenging position of caring for elderly relatives while also raising young children of their own.

The stress that accompanies caregiving is significant, and if it is not addressed it can lead to full-blown depression or other serious health problems. Caregivers owe it to themselves (and to the recipients of their care) to recognize their own needs.

Fortunately there are many resources available to help caregivers. Following are some tips on coping with the stress of caring for an elderly loved one:

Take care of yourself: Caregivers often neglect their own needs because they focus all of their efforts on the elderly relative who needs their help. As a result, many caregivers don’t get the proper nutrition, exercise and rest that they need to stay healthy. This sets the stage for weakened immune systems, weight problems, sleep disturbances and emotional issues.

Ask for help: Many caregivers are hesitant to ask for assistance, even though there are many people who sincerely want to help lighten the load. Ask for and accept help from family members, friends and neighbors who offer to sit with your loved one, run errands or cook meals. Seek out resources in your community that offer respite care and other services.

Ditch the guilt: There are only 24 hours in a day and you are only one person. You are not a superhero and nobody (except you) expects you to be one. Accept that you are doing the very best you can.

Join a support group: Find a support group in your community for caregivers in your situation. You will make friends and also receive some tips on how to deal with the myriad of issues associated with caregiving.

Have some fun: It can be hard to maintain your sense of humor when you are faced with the day-in and day-out challenges of caregiving. Find ways to inject some joy and humor into your life. Paint, dance, sing, laugh or watch a funny movie. Have lunch with a friend, talk a walk in the park or join a gym. Treat yourself to a relaxing warm bath or a massage. The “mental health breaks” you give yourself will make you a happier and more effective caregiver.

In the greater Albany area, Armistead Caregiver Services offer a wide array of high quality non-medical care services in many settings, including private homes, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and assisted living communities.  Armistead  located on Dahlia Street in Schenectady, can be contacted at  (518) 982-1633.  Don’t hesitate to get the help you deserve!

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