When Georgia caregivers need care, too

SEP 07, 2017
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Whether you’re taking care of aging parents, a spouse with an ongoing condition, or a seriously ill friend, caregiving can be deeply rewarding. But it can also be one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever have.

 

A caregiver must provide social, financial, emotional, and physical support. Sometimes this commitment requires a few hours a week, but it can also mean being there for that person 24 hours a day.

 

Common effects felt by caregivers

 

If you sometimes feel burned out, frustrated, or depressed as a caregiver, remember that caregiving can be physically and mentally exhausting. As a caregiver, you may experience:

 

  • Feelings of isolation coupled with overwhelming responsibility
  • Self-doubt regarding the quality of care you provide
  • Guilt that you aren’t doing enough
  • Worries about how long you can keep this up
  • Concerns over money
  • A lack of time for yourself
  • Resentment toward the person you care for
  • If the person you care for has changed, a sense of loss or grief
  • Confusion about where to turn for help

Small changes can make a big difference

 

When the challenges of caretaking start to feel like too much, try these 3 tips:

 

  • Remember to take care of yourself. Beyond nutrition, sleep, and exercise, try to take a bit of time each day to calm your mind — whether alone or with other loved ones. You can also seek out caregiving classes and support groups in your area.
  • Help, but don’t enable. Let the person you’re caring for make as many decisions as possible. Give them responsibility for tasks that fit their abilities. When needed, teach them how to break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask friends or family members to help with meals or chores. You can also have them stay with your loved one while you take a few hours to regroup and recharge. If there’s no one you feel comfortable asking, consider an adult care center to help you watch over your loved one.

There are additional resources to help you. Ask your doctor about Kaiser Permanente resources for caregivers, or visit these websites:

 

Alzheimer’s Association
Eldercare Locator
Family Caregiver Alliance
National Alliance for Caregiving

 

As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So if you take good care of your body, mind, and soul, you’ll be helping yourself and your dependent loved one.

 

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