It is estimated that over 40 million American adults are family caregivers. Most of these individuals provide care for family members or friends who have chronic conditions, are older or disabled.
In the United States, November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize the compassionate care and support provided by caregivers nationwide.
Caregiving can take many forms depending on the recipient’s needs. It can include helping with medical and therapeutic tasks, transportation, housekeeping and even companionship and emotional support. While performing these essential tasks, it’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves too. While often rewarding, caregiving can be difficult and caregiver stress is common. More than one-third of caregivers provide intense care to others while suffering from poor health themselves. Below are some ways caregivers to practice self-care.
3 Ways Caregivers Can Practice Self-Care
- Ask for and accept help.
Despite feeling overwhelmed, you may be reluctant to ask for help. It’s important to remember that you do not have to do everything by yourself. Reach out to friends and family for assistance when you need it. There are also professional caregiving services that can help you care for your loved one while giving you the time you need to relax and recharge.
- Get enough sleep.
Sleep is important to how you feel both emotionally and physically. Getting adequate sleep can help you feel more refreshed and alert when you wake up. It also helps your ability to concentrate and think clearly. Check out the CDC’s tips for practicing better sleep hygiene.
- Join a support group.
There are both online and in-person support groups that can help you connect with other caregivers. These groups can help you realize that you are not alone.
So that you can continue to be a great caregiver, it’s important for you to take care of your physical and emotional health. Take time to make sure your needs are met.
This National Family Caregivers Month, we are thankful for the millions of people around the country who provide essential support to loved ones. Your contributions are invaluable.