As a society, the pandemic has helped us to become more aware and more appreciative of all the sacrifices our professional caregivers provide. In the same spirit, the month of November is National Family Caregivers Month — a time we set aside to recognize, thank and support those extra-special people who provide the best quality-of-life possible, for loved ones who need assistance.
Here’s an important reminder. Sometimes it’s easy for others — and even caregivers themselves — to overlook the physical, intellectual and emotional demand that this important calling can place on the person who is providing it.
The Caregiver Action Network offers some suggestions on ways family caregivers make sure they take good care of themselves.
Accept help from others when you need it. There’s no need to try to do this alone, especially when friends, family, professional care givers, medical practitioners or others you know can do specific things that can lighten your load.
Keep medical & legal documents organized and in order. It’s vitally important that paperwork is up-to-date and easy to find. Make sure you keep your lines of communication open with health care providers too, especially when it comes medications or new types of treatments.
Consider new ways to make your tasks easier. New technologies, such as GPS locators for loved ones of dementia patients and medication tracking programs are two examples. This technology navigator for caregivers offers more information.
Finally, take care of your health first. Be especially sensitive to signs of depression or overworking. Being a caregiver is demanding work in every respect … physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You can’t be of service to your family member or friend, if you aren’t up-to-par yourself.
In the words of the Caregiver Action Network, “Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!”