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Monday, December 3, 2018

Taking Care of the Caregiver

Medical care has improved in leaps and bounds from the days of the old and even so some things do not change. Just like in the past many individuals will stay at home and be cared for by a caregiver. The caregiver is often provided by people who are not health care professionals. An average of 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States provides care to other adults. This can put strain even on the toughest of those among us. Being a caregiver can have many ups and downs. and be tough on even the most rugged individual. Thus caregivers must take steps to preserve your own health and well being. 

My own husband can be considered a care-giver of mine as he helps to take care of my injured foot. A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another in need. Being there for each other is something that is common with couples as well as families. When a loved one needs help it is often a blessing to have someone to help. However, it is different than the normal row that takes place between couples and families

The role change may leave feelings of anger, frustration, exhaustion, loneliness and depression. Loved ones often feel not only the emotional stress but also the physical stress of being a caregiver. The added stress may lead to changes in their own personal health. Factors that may make it harder on caregivers are:
  • being female
  • no formal education on taking care of others
  • living with the individual you are caring for
  • social isolation
  • depression
  • financial issues
  • lack of choice or opportunity
Caregivers need to be careful not to be so focused on their loved one that they forget their own health needs. Signs of stress include:

  • feeling overwhelmed
  • constantly worried
  • feeling tired
  • too much or not enough sleep
  • weight gain or loss
  • easily irritated or angry
  • losing interest in activities once enjoyed
  • sadness
  • frequent headaches, body pains, other physical issues
  • alcohol or drug abuse

There are no perfect caregivers. As long as we are doing the best and making good decisions then the job is being done well. Caregivers need breaks as well. If you are a caregiver be sure to accept any help offered. In addition support groups are helpful and can provide validation and encouragement. Caregivers should be sure:

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