You take care of everyone else, but who takes care of you? As we start 2013, many individuals are entering into another year of caring for our loved ones, often times forgetting to take care of ourselves. This year, make your resolution to care for yourself first. Then you will have the time and energy needed to care for others.
Crittenton Hospital Medical Center offers several support groups for caregivers and those struggling with chronic illness or disease. Often, the support caregivers need is simply another person who has walked in similar shoes and can share their experiences.
Crittenton Home Care found that the American Heart Association offers several common signs of caregiver burnout including feelings of depression, withdrawal of social connections, change in eating patterns and feelings of helplessness. Many times caregivers feel a sense of guilt for thoughts of burnout and will not ask for help. If you have a friend or family member who is the main caregiver, stay in contact with them and, if needed, suggest resources to prevent burnout.
Here are a few tips to help you care for yourself first:
- Keep your own life active. Don’t let the caregiving become the only active part of your life.
- Take time to be alone or with family and friends to relax.
- Learn everything you can about your loved ones needs or illness. This will help you stay prepared and at ease.
- Join a caregiver support group or talk with friends who are, or have been, caregivers.
- Utilize new ways for your loved ones to maintain independence while staying connected with you and having a helping hand in the home.
- Respite Care is one tool that Crittenton Home Care offers to help provide caregivers with time away to run errands or be away while knowing that their loved one is cared for by professional, caring in-home staff.
- Caring Bridge is another simple tool used by Crittenton Home Care to connect loved ones and caregivers. This also makes it simple for family members and friends to easily communicate and show their support for you and your loved one.