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, “Take Care to Give Care”.
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.
For those of us who know a caregiver, consider extending a helping hand or sending encouraging words. Offering to help decorate their home for the holidays or preparing their Thanksgiving meal can really help. Purchasing them a gift card to go to a comedy club or a funny movie can offer some comic relief. Even sending a card of appreciation or bouquet of flowers can help brighten the day of a caregiver.
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 Assistant for The Kim Foundation
Lori Atkinson joined The Kim Foundation in May 2015 as an Operations Assistant. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from UNL in Middle Level Education. She was an 8th grade English teacher in the Omaha Public Schools for ten years and started a small non-profit in her husband’s memory in 2010. Lori assists with many of the day-to-day tasks for The Kim Foundation which includes scheduling presentations in the community, coordinating booths at conferences, attending mental health trainings, researching mental illness/suicide, and working community events. Lori is the proud mom of three children and is actively involved in her church.