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November 2, 2021
Have you ever been on an airplane? Before the plane takes off you are given a set of instructions, one of which includes, “in the event of an emergency please place your oxygen mask over your nose and mouth before helping others do so.”
As a caregiver, you may be so focused on your loved one you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering. but, just as the example of the plane emergency illustrates, you cannot help others if you haven’t taken care of yourself first!
A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need, such as an ill spouse, disabled child, or even an aging relative.
As a caregiver, you’re clinically more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. In addition, you may not get enough sleep or physical activity, or eat a balanced diet — which increases your own risk of medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Here are a few tips to help manage your stress as a caregiver:
- Accept help. Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you, that way when people ask, “How can I help?” you can give them a specific task that will actually be helpful to you. For example, someone could take the person you care for on a 15-minute walk a couple of times a week. Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed and exhausted to reach out for help from family and friends.
- Get connected. Find out about caregiving resources in your community, such as classes specifically about the disease your loved one is facing. Caregiving services such as transportation, meal delivery or housekeeping may even be available.
- Join a support group. This can provide validation and encouragement, as well as problem-solving strategies for difficult situations. If you don’t want to talk with close family and friends about what you’re going through, talking with a group can help you get second opinions and advice from others in similar situations.
If you’re like many caregivers, you have a hard time asking for help. Unfortunately, this can lead to feeling isolated, frustrated and even depressed. It’s not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires when you’re a caregiver.
Take advantage of local resources for caregivers and remember, you aren’t in this alone.
Organizations are in a constant state of change and the Kinetiq Health team supports them every step of the way. A unique formula of people, processes and technologies enables our team to keep an educated eye on the financial and clinical implications of data to move organizations toward improved financial health and employee wellbeing.