November is National Family Caregiver’s Month. Don’t let the month slip by without doing something kind for the caregiver in your life. With 39% all adults acting as a caregiver for an elderly relative, disabled spouse, injured veteran or other loved one, there is a good chance that someone you know is dealing with the stress of being a caregiver. In many cases this can lead to a common condition known as caregiver burnout. Caregivers face a combination of emotional, physical, and financial challenges that often leave them feeling isolated and overwhelmed. It is vital that they have a support system that can provide occasional relief so that they don’t succumb to caregiver burnout and lose the ability to care for themselves and the ones around them.
How to Celebrate Your Caregiver
- The number one thing you can do to help the caregiver in your life is to offer your time and expertise. Perhaps you are more knowledgeable when it comes to something like financial matters. Simply offering some simple insights may be enough to save a caregiver hours of time and frustration.
- If possible, make arrangements to take over as the caregiver even for a care of their patient so that the caregiver can engage in enriching activities that will keep them happy and healthy.
- Lend an ear. Once again, simply offering your time and full attention may be enough to lighten their load and make them feel less alone and burdened.
- You can also help by increasing awareness. Share links about National Family Caregiver’s Month on facebook, twitter, and other social media sites. It is a great way to show your support and spread the word about the importance of supporting the millions of caregivers across the country.
Tips for Caregivers
- If you are a caregiver, here are some things to kind in mind as you look after your own health:Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is easy for everyone to get caught up in their own lives and forget that you might be under a lot of stress. You might have to actively reach out to others in order to get the help you need.
- Make time away from your caregiving duties. Chances are, your schedule is already pretty packed, but it is important to take a break and put yourself first.
- Pay close attention to your diet and be sure to get enough exercise. While this is good advice for anyone, it is especially important for people experiencing increased levels of stress.
- Seek out caregiver support groups. Being able to discuss shared experiences with others can be a key tool in allowing you to relieve stress and combat feelings of isolation.
As population demographics continue to shift and the number of people of the age of 65 increases, our healthcare system must also adapt. Even now, as the first wave of baby boomers are reaching retirement age, we are already seeing more and more adults take on the extra responsibility of being a caregiver. This trend is sure to continue, which makes it all the more important that we recognize the important contributions that caregivers make and actively seek out ways to support their efforts. Even making the smallest gesture during National Family Caregiver’s Month is a step in the right direction.