November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of friends and family members who voluntarily support a loved one with their health or a disability. Over 44 million Americans care for a family member, friend, or neighbor challenged with a health issue and in need of additional care at home. As the population of older adults in the United States continues to grow, so will the need for family caregivers and assistance from loved ones. While a caregiver’s main responsibility is to provide appropriate care to a family member, it is important that he or she remain mindful of their own health and wellbeing, and ask for help when needed.
As part of our Older Adult Services program, we offer therapy and counseling services to family caregivers who may be experiencing a rough transition into this new role. Below are a few tips and helpful words of encouragement to those who find themselves in the role of caregiver:
1. Educate yourself about your loved one’s health challenges.
Your loved one may be suffering from a health issue that you have never even heard of, let alone know how to care for. Educate yourself on the symptoms and challenges your loved one may be facing, as well as resources available in your community that may be able to provide an additional helping hand when needed.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You may feel apprehensive to ask for help from others, particularly if the person you are caring for is a parent or spouse. However, it is important to recognize when things get too overwhelming and additional help is needed. Work on creating a support system around you of other family members and friends who can assist with caregiving when times get tough.
3. Set limits and recognize when they may be reached.
When it comes to family, we always try our best to do what we can to keep our loved ones happy and feeling cared for. However, there comes a time for all family caregivers when they reach their limit and need to seek outside help from a medical professional. It is a difficult decision for any caregiver, but it is also a necessary one when it comes to making sure your loved one is receiving the care and attention they deserve.
4. Make time for a break.
Set aside a specific time each week to devote to your own health and wellbeing. Whether that means taking an hour to sit in a coffee shop and relax, or a full day where you catch up on errands and chores, ensure that you have time for yourself set aside each week.
To learn more about the services we offer to family caregivers, call our toll-free number at 833-444-NEST or request additional information: