In my last blog post we discussed how stressful family care-giving can become. It can affect the caregiver physically, emotionally and mentally. If you did not read that last blog post and would like to read it now, click on the link below.
In this week's blog post we are going to suggest some valuable tips for managing family caregiver stress. These tips are suggested by the Caring Bridge site online. Since stress is often very real for a family caregiver, the caregiver often feels frustrated and exhausted. Hopefully, these tips will be helpful.
These tips include eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising. These three things are so basic, but they are easy to neglect when taking care of someone else. They are necessary to the well-being of both the caregiver and the person who needs care, however. A caregiver cannot take care of someone else, if she or he is not taking care of herself or himself.
Other tips include completing small tasks one at a time to regain a sense of control when life become chaotic, taking quiet time for oneself, having a healthy dose of laughter and spending quality time with others whenever possible. At the same time a caregiver need to know how to say, "no." to requests and outside responsibilities. Family caregivers have enough on their plate. They do not need to add other responsibilities to their "to do" list.
Family caregivers can further benefit from journaling. When I was caring for my first husband I benefitted much from journaling and writing down my feelings as part of a support group online. Also engaging in activities once enjoyed and finding relaxing things to do is so helpful to a family caregiver. Even doing something like coloring has been found to be beneficial in calming stress. (Yes, there are adult coloring books available out there for adults!) It is so vital for a caregiver to not neglect his or her own medical needs as well and to also know when to ask for and accept help. Caregivers need to take care of themselves in order to take care of others effectively!
Finally, a caregiver needs to take time for prayer, reading Scripture, and developing a relationship of dependence on the Lord, This is the most important thing a family caregiver can do. This is true not only for family caregivers but for all of us. We need to trust in the Lord, and leave our burdens at His feet. We need to take one step at a time, trusting the Lord to lead us through the difficult and stressful moments.
Here are some caregiver assistance groups suggested by Caring Bridge:
AARP (1-888) 687-2277
Family Caregiver Alliance (1-800) 445-8106
Caregiver.com (954) 893-0550
Caregiver Action Network (202) 454 3970
Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving (229) 928-1234
Well Spouse Association (1-800) 838-0879