By Christin Rousseau, Administrative Support at Seasons
November is National Family Caregiver Month. This month honors and recognizes the over 50 million family caregivers in the United States. While caregiving can be an important and rewarding role, it can also be challenging. Many caregivers experience sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, stress, and frequently don’t prioritize their own doctor appointments. This can put someone at an increased risk of many physical and mental health issues, including Hypertension, Depression, Anxiety and Obesity. Caregivers can be so focused on the care of their loved one that they often forget to take care of themselves. What caregivers sometimes don’t recognize is that taking care of themselves is an important aspect of taking care of their loved one. Prioritizing your own health is often easier said than done, but in the long run it is beneficial for everyone.
Focusing on small changes so you don’t get overwhelmed is a great place to start. Not all changes have to be made at once, so try to set small goals for yourself. Here is a list of things you can do to help improve your physical and mental health.
- Learn and use stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation and prayer.
- Reach out to your doctor to address your health needs.
- Get proper rest and nutrition. Add more healthy foods to your meals or snacks and be sure to drink plenty of water.
- Exercise regularly. Try going for a short walk or do easy exercises at home 3 times per week.
- Ask for help so you can take some time for yourself.
- Journal about your thoughts and feelings.
While making positive changes to your regular routine can help improve your health, it is also important to find social support. Sometimes talking to your own family and friends can be helpful, but finding a group of other caregivers to connect with is also beneficial. Having someone to confide in who is in a similar situation can reduce the feelings of loneliness. Socializing with other caregivers also opens up opportunities for you to learn and for you to share your advice.
Senior Services offers a caregiver support group two times per month. This group is confidential and discusses the emotional journey of caregiving for anyone caring for another person. Group members can discuss solutions to challenging situations and can help each other find healthy ways of coping. Educational materials and tips and techniques for caregiving are also included. Caregiver Support Group is held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at Trailside in room 159. Feel free to drop in, registration is not required.
Senior Services offers an array of memory support programs including free and confidential memory screenings to obtain a cognitive baseline, our early memory loss program, and educational classes along with support from Seasons Adult Day Health Services. If you or someone you know is experiencing increasing changes with their memory and could benefit from additional services, please contact Amy Sheridan, Family Support and Activity Manager at 989-633-3764.
Please continue to check out the section, Our Mind Matters, next month.