Care givers need care too
In our modern world, we are continually seeing breakthroughs in medical care. Many people are living longer. As our population ages, more of us will find ourselves in the role of being a caretaker at some point.
It may be for an elderly parent who has lost their spouse and is no longer able to live alone, or perhaps for a child or sibling with a disability or severe injury. It could be a husband or wife whose spouse has been diagnosed with dementia.
Whatever the case, a huge responsibility is put upon the people serving as caregivers. This may not be readily apparent at first. However, over time the stress of being in this position has been shown to affect many.
There are many signs of caregiver stress. It could be anxiety, irritability or a lack of focus. The caregiver may enter a state of denial or become angry or depressed about the situations they are facing.
Eating and sleeping patterns may change. The caregiver may withdraw socially, avoiding friends and activities they once were quite interested in.
As a caregiver, it is important to take care of yourself first. Try to maintain healthy eating and exercise routines. Find a way to take periodic breaks from your care-giving role. Have some fun doing something occasionally that takes your mind completely away from it all. Keep up your other interests and stay current with your friends. Find someone you can talk to when you need it.
Let go of the guilt, you have a right to live your life and be happy.
Michael Farrell is the activity director and adult day program director at Mesa Vista Assisted Living in Battlement Mesa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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