Hi [name] coming to you today with a message from Caring Heart and Hands about care-giving, burnout, and the benefits of professional care-giving support.
For most caregivers, being there when a loved one needs them feels ethically rewarding… in the beginning.
But a shift in roles and emotions is almost certain. In time, it’s natural to feel frustration, resentment, exhaustion and isolation. Caregiver stress — the emotional and physical stress of care-giving — is common, but that doesn’t mean it should be tolerated.
Over time, people who experience the mental duress of this type of responsibility can be especially vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and that irritating feeling of constant brain-fog.
If you excel in what I like to call care-giver-denial, it’s imperative to pay attention to the physical signs of mental stress, especially if you’re like the majority of caregivers – great at ignoring your feelings. Take time to check-in with the one thing that always tells the truth… your body.
Are you feeling tired, experiencing weight changes, finding yourself easily irritated or angry, losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, having frequent headaches, body pain or other physical problems, or engaging in any type of addictive or escapist behavior?
If so, these are clear signs that you need support. It’s not just “okay” to ask for help, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved one. The emotional and physical demands involved with care-giving can strain even the most resilient person. In addition, you may not get enough sleep or physical activity, or eat a balanced diet — which increases your risk of medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of the many resources and tools available to help you provide care for your loved one.
Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else. The first step in managing care-giver stress is to enlist the help of professionals. We, at Caring Heart and Hands offers:
- Transportation to and from our center
- Health Services, such as Vital Signs, Medication Monitoring, Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ambulating, toileting, feeding), First Aid, Health Education, Blood Sugar Checks, and Diabetic Foot Checks
- Daytime meals and snacks
- Therapeutic Services – wherein your loved one will receive cognitive stimulation, physical exertion, and hand/eye coordination.
- Group Interactions such as: picnics, coffee socials, games and singing, monthly birthday parties, arts and crafts, field trips, gardening, community involvement, and more.
- Social Services like: arranging medical appointments, securing assistance, advocating with Social Security issues, and advising on available community resources and assistance services.
- And finally, assistance with practical issues such as: acquiring wheelchairs, walkers, dentures, and other vital health, financial and social resources.
It may be hard to imagine leaving your loved one in someone else’s care, but taking a break can be one of the best things you do for yourself — as well as the person you’re caring for.
And while we’re helping with your loved one, here’s what the renowned Mayo Clinic suggests for care-givers…
- Focus on what you are able to provide. It’s normal to feel guilty sometimes, but understand that no one is a “perfect” caregiver. Believe that you are doing the best you can and making the best decisions you can at any given time.
- Set realistic goals. Break large tasks into smaller steps that you can do one at a time. Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine. Begin to say no to requests that are draining, such as hosting holiday meals.
- Get connected. Find out about care-giving resources in your community. Many communities have classes specifically about the disease your loved one is facing. Care-giving services such as additional transportation, meal delivery or housekeeping may be available.
- Join a support group. A support group can provide validation and encouragement, as well as problem-solving strategies for difficult situations. People in support groups understand what you may be going through. A support group can also be a good place to create meaningful friendships.
- Seek social support. Make an effort to stay well-connected with family and friends who can offer nonjudgmental emotional support. Set aside time each week for connecting, even if it’s just a walk with a friend.
- Set personal health goals. For example, set goals to establish a good sleep routine, find time to be physically active on most days of the week, consume a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
- Get enough rest. Not getting quality sleep over a long period of time can cause health issues. If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor.
- See your doctor. Get recommended vaccinations and screenings. Make sure to tell your doctor that you’re a caregiver. Don’t hesitate to mention any concerns or symptoms you have.
Please know that Caring Heart and Hands is here to assist you with both long-term or respite solutions, providing excellent and professionally trained staff for live-in or live-out care. So if you need a few hours, a few days or a (much deserved) vacation, Caring Heart and Hands can help restore a sense of tranquility and enhance the quality of living for everyone involved. Help and happiness are just a phone call away; contact us today!