Caring for Caregivers!

Posted on

Apr 17, 2011


Utah - Utah

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Providing care for a loved one can be difficult and many caregivers find themselves feeling trapped by the responsibility and dont attend to their own needs. Conversely, those receiving care may feel guilt for being a burden or anger over their loss of abilities. Because it is such a difficult time for you and your loved one, it is important for you to take care of yourself as a caregiver. Some caregivers reach the point of burnout where they may find themselves feeling hopeless, resentful, or impatient. Below are some tips on how to avoid caregiver burnout:
Know your sources of support. Dont be afraid to ask your family for support. If you are reluctant to ask for help, ask yourself, If my family knew what I was trying to do by myself, would they feel that they had missed an opportunity to serve their loved one?
It is also helpful to know the resources in the community that can take some of the burden away. Aging Services provides in home assistance to seniors and also provides support to caregivers. Home Health and Hospice agencies can also provide supportive care and have social workers familiar with community resources.
Meet your emotional needs. Caregivers often report feeling anger, grief, guilt, helplessness, fear, worry, loneliness and shame. Are there friends that will lend a listening ear? Would joining a caregiver support group be beneficial?
Consider the care-giving relationship as a partnership. This Eden philosophy of care suggests that regardless of a persons physical or cognitive function, everyone can participate in their own care in some way. Helping your loved one feel needed and independent improves the relationship and can minimize the stress and frustration around daily tasks.
Find time for activities that rejuvenate you. This can be as simple as journaling, taking a walk, or curling up with a good book. You need time to get away.
Recognize all that you ARE doing. We often have a tendency to focus on our shortcomings and discount or discredit the positives. Keep in mind there is no such thing as a perfect caregiver. Recognize what you are doing is difficult and acknowledge the many things you are doing well.

For more information on caregiver support and resources, contact Andrea Morgenegg, LCSW, HPMT, MT-BC, Dignity Home Health & Hospice (801) 492-4892. For more information on The Eden Philosphy, contact Diedra Kearney, Director of Community Education at Dignity Home Health & Hospice (801) 860-3801

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