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Being a family caregiver can be incredibly fulfilling, but it can also be challenging, stressful, and demanding. It is crucial to take care of yourself as a caregiver, as you cannot provide the best care for your loved one if you neglect your own physical, emotional, and mental needs. Here are five ways to take care of yourself as a family caregiver:
Caregiving Throughout the Circle of Life: Present, Patient and Kind
Life blindsided our family in the fall of 2018 when my wife, Pat, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that quickly progressed to stage IV. After a torturous 17-month journey of tests, chemotherapy, ER visits, surgeries, extended hospital stays, and clinical trials, Pat went to her heavenly home. But the chaos pancreatic cancer tried to create could not steal our joy of life, kill our faith or destroy our hope for the future.
My bride of over 35 years blessed us with three terrific children. They, in turn, have blessed us with seven grandchildren, ranging in age from 9 to 1 year old. Close geographic proximity and strong relationships allowed us to help care for our six oldest grandchildren together before cancer took Pat’s life in 2020. It is one of the greatest blessings we have ever had. Our grandchildren truly stole our hearts.
I learned a few key lessons from caring for our grandkids that helped me care for my beautiful spouse. Now, I am absolutely not implying to ever treat an adult like a child. Adults who need assistance in daily life deserve respect, dignity and the ability to maintain some type of independence. They have feelings, thoughts and opinions that must always be considered. However, beginning-of-life and end-of-life care share some characteristics.
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Here's a great article to read that gives eight tips on how to provide assistance — and help yourself, if you are experiencing caring for a loved one while retired or are anticipating this scenario in the near future.
This quick read, written by Richard Eisenberg, hits on some of those high points and gives a bit of healthy advice in the process.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis, free help is immediately available.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, via phone, text and online chat, offering people compassionate care and support from trained crisis counselors for individuals, families or their loved ones. One does not have to be suicidal to call 988 but can reach out when experiencing any behavioral health crisis. 988 call services are available in English and Spanish, along with interpretation services in more than 150 languages. Texting 988 and online chat are currently available only in English. Veterans and military service members can call 988 and press “1” to connect with the Veterans Crisis Line.
Exposure to social stress was associated with accelerated aging of the immune system, according to an NIA-funded study recently published in PNAS. The body’s immune system changes as people age, and there’s large variability in these changes. The study, led by researchers at UCLA, investigated whether social stressors added to immune system decline.
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Shadow comforts and quick fixes deplete and exhaust.
Check out these ten ways to solve the self-care conundrum.
"Delirium is a sudden change in your alertness and thinking. People with delirium typically become confused and have trouble paying attention."
Healthline's Chitra Badii continues, "Delirium is an abrupt change to your mental state. It makes it difficult to think, remember, focus, and more. Some people with delirium become drowsy and quiet, while others can become agitated."
Badii expands her article to cover:
Whether in a medical professional setting or personal homes, Caregivers are caring and caring takes energy, wisdom and compassion. This Caregiver Blog is here to give you insight, encouragement and tools, not just to give care but to survive and thrive while doing it.