To be a caregiver is to put the needs of others before your own. It means countless hours taking care of another person, often at the expense of forgoing your own needs for a day, a week, a season, a decade, or more. It means giving selflessly to a family member, neighbor, or loved one no matter what no matter when. In essence, caregivers are angels here amongst us who carry out good works for the sake of another individual. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, a caregiver is a person who provides support in the realm of daily living activities or medical care to another, and here in the United States, over 43 million people have met that definition in the last year alone. Statistics also show that over 34 million Americans have taken care of someone over the age of 50 in the last year alone. What would we do without our caregivers?
The Holiday Season is a time to give back to those who have given so graciously to assist others. If you have ever benefited from the care of someone who loves you, you know just how valuable that person is. Here at Champion Home Health Care, we have the honor of serving Brevard County seniors with professional home health care in Melbourne, FL, and surrounding areas. We know just how challenging this task can be and often step in for familial caregivers to assist them. We salute all of you who have or are currently aiding someone you love. It is not easy, but we see all of the hard work you put in and want you to know we applaud you. It can be hard to remember that your needs matter too, this is why we have a list of ways to care for yourself during this time.
It is not easy, but sometimes you just do not know where to turn. There are organizations such as the Caregiver Action Network and Caregiver Support Services that can help you get your own questions answered. For a more exhaustive list, please click here for a list from the American Society on Aging.
Stay on Top of Your Own Health
You cannot devote all your time to another and fight your own illness as well. It is important that you keep up to date with your own doctor visits and health care needs during this time. Did you know that caregivers are susceptible to loss of sleep, negative eating habits, and even depression? It can be easy to lose yourself while taking care of another but don’t! You matter. The world needs you.
Manage Your Stress
The first step in stress management is to accept that you are stressed out. This sounds really simple but many caregivers do not want to admit that caring for someone they love is adding extreme stress to their own lives. You cannot fix what you will not admit.
Next, find ways that let you blow off steam in a healthy way…and do them without guilt. Does a brisk walk help ease your anxious mind and melt the stress away? Schedule it! Make yourself a priority. Do you need to get more sleep to help you get through the day? Set a timer and make sure you are in bed by a given time each night. Recognize that you cannot help others if you are in a state of chaos and know that loving yourself is not selfish.
Caregiving is challenging, but you are not alone. It requires all of you so please know that your state of being matters in this process. Recognize your value and remember to take care of you.