November is National Family Caregivers Month and as you navigate the inevitable challenges many individuals are faced with as caregivers to parents, spouses, and other loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other difficult conditions, it is important to remember to take care of yourself too. Caregivers play an essential role in the lives of older adults and, in the process, give much of themselves. Caring for yourself is one of the best things you can do when caring for others.
The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that as many as 70% of family caregivers experience feeling depressed, caused by isolation and loneliness. There is also an increased risk of chronic illness, such as high cholesterol or blood pressure, compared to the general population of caregivers, and often report having sleep deprivation, poor eating and exercise habits, and failure to keep personal medical appointments. As a family caregiver, here are some tips for you to take time for yourself and prioritize self care:
- Establish a workout routine
- Eat healthy meals
- Practice meditation or yoga daily
- Simply take a break
- Spend time with friends or other family members
- Join a support group
Although it may be hard to remember, it’s extremely important for the caregiver and the person being cared for to prioritize their own needs. This is not a selfish act and will reduce overall caregiver stress, which allows the focus to stay on the benefits of family caregiving.
If you begin to feel overwhelmed, take respite. HealthStar Home Health offers a variety of home health care services and supports, including a respite care program which provides planned short-term and time-limited breaks for caregivers. Our healthcare professionals help with housekeeping, personal care, and companionship so the caregiver can focus on their own physical and mental health, and improve their overall well-being.
With access to HealthStar’s Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS), you and your loved one will learn a variety of skills to help manage independent living and social situations. These skills, along with the services and program options is another way to prevent caregiver burnout. Take advantage of what we offer to lift some pressure off your shoulders as caregiver. This will allow you the opportunity to take some much needed time for yourself and promote your own healthy habits.
Caring for a spouse or family member demonstrates love and commitment and can be one of the most important and rewarding roles a person will play, but it can also be stressful and demanding. The skills gained are invaluable and the loving relationships grow stronger, but every caregiver needs help at times. Don’t lose focus on your own needs while caring for others – it can lead to an unhealthy situation for the patient and caregiver. Contact HealthStar Home Health to learn more about the services and programs we provide and let us develop an individualized plan of care that will benefit you and your loved one. Call us today at 651-633-7300 or visit our website www.healthstarhomehealth.net.