During the month of November, we take time to recognize the caregivers across the country. The family members and friends who spend countless hours providing care to relatives or loved ones are honored for their selfless acts of love and kindness. There are an estimated 90 million caregivers in our nation and this year’s theme is, “Caregiving Around the Clock”.
Caregiving can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be very physically and emotionally demanding. The stress involved can sometimes lead to health issues and it can feel like a marathon race with no finish line in sight. There are increased risks for depression, other chronic conditions, and social isolation. By taking a few steps to care for themselves, caregivers can help stay strong to care for their loved ones.
Remembering to make time for rest is key in caregiving for others. Along with rest, it is important to maintain a healthy diet. This will help keep the immune system strong and energy levels higher. Be aware of the signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help if needed. Don’t be afraid to accept offers of help or to ask for help from others. Friends and family members can take a caregiver’s place for a couple hours or more, so that the caregiver can re-charge and accomplish other tasks.
More and more Americans are finding themselves in the role of caregiver and are caring for the sick, disabled, mentally ill, and the elderly. It is important to take time out and thank those in your family that are fulfilling that role. They are the tireless heroes that are faced with challenging, yet rewarding work each and every day.
Lori Atkinson, Operations Director for The Kim Foundation