3 Ways Family Caregivers Can Care For Themselves
Caring for an aging or ill family member can be physically and mentally exhausting. Whether it’s taking an aging parent to their primary physician or caring for a spouse with failing health, the statistics prove caregivers are more likely to be hospitalized than people of their same age and health who are not caregivers. Caregivers are more likely to suffer from depression and physical injuries associated with family care. Those over age 65 tasked with caring for a spouse are predicted to die sooner than those who are not in the caregiving role.
Approximately 39.8 million caregivers provide care to adults with a disability or illness. An even higher numbers – 43.5 million caregivers – have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last year. November is National Family Caregivers Month, and to support those who continuously support someone else, we’re highlighting three ways caregivers can care for themselves.
Recognize Your Limits
The relationship you have with your family member will change, especially if their health declines. While visiting the family doctor’s office doesn’t seem that hard of a task, there may come a time when you have to recognize when you need help. Saying you can’t do a particular job or can’t continue family care full time by yourself is ok. When the primary care physician explains new treatment methods or reveals a decline in health, be open to accepting help when caring for your loved one.
Prioritize Your Own Health
In order to take care of someone you love, you must first take care of yourself. Daily activity, even if it’s just a walk outside, will help clear your mind and keep your body strong. Routine health exams will help you recognize any areas of your body that need special attention or preventative care. It’s impossible for you to fully care for anyone else when you’re sick, so take the time you need for yourself with these steps:
- Stimulate your mind (Read, engage in social groups)
- Communicate with other friends and family members
- Perform stress-relieving activities, like yoga
- Speak with your family doctor about any health concerns
Don’t let your physical or mental health spiral out of control. Be proactive about your own care.
Incorporate Respite Care
Know that it is ok to consider respite care for your loved one. Temporary care at an adult daycare center or activity center allows your family member to engage with others and gives you relief from around-the-clock care. You’ll know that your family members is safe and can request an activity list of what is planned for the hours they are at the facility. Speak with your primary care physician to determine the best-fit center.
Just because November is the time of year we recognize family caregivers, don’t allow your self care to stop when the month ends. A family doctor will be able to provide recommended facilities and ideas on how to keep your own health strong throughout the year.
Schedule Your Annual Exam
Did you know that we offer same day and walk-in appointments for current patients? Did you know we have new patient appointments available within 24 to 48 hours? Call us today and make sure you take care of yourself!