Everyday Solutions For Care works with caregivers in Berwyn and Cicero to provide them support, respite and education. These services are essential for those caring for their loved ones. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP in 2015, roughly 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult aged 50 or older in the last 12 months. Approximately 39.8 million caregivers provide care to adults (aged 18+) with a disability or illness [Coughlin, J. (2010). Caregiving can lead to burnout, feelings of isolation, resentment and helplessness if caregivers and those they care for are not properly supported and connected to resources.
While these feelings are common in caregiving dynamics, they are not a part of normal caregiver and can be reduced or eliminated if self-care is a regular part of they caregiving dynamic.
1. Be active & Eat well: Exercise or enjoy something you like to do (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes. Set realistic goals and build from there. Eat plenty of fresh produce, proteins and whole grains. Avoid indulging in caffeine and drinks loaded with sugar. As they produce a quick let down effect after the sugar and caffeine wears off.
2. Know your local resources: If you live in Berwyn & Cicero, IL call Solutions For Care and ask to speak with a caregiver specialist. Contact the department of aging in your town or state to learn about the programs and services available to you and your loved one. Call local churches to see if they are aware of support groups. For more resources check out our Caregiver Corner.
3. Meditate: Find a quiet place wherever you are and breathe in deeply several times. This will regulate your heart beat and increase the oxygen in your blood. When you exhale, let go of all your bad energy.
4. Ask for help: There is nothing wrong with asking for help to avoid caregiver burnout. You do not have to feel burdened by your loved one or guilty for reaching out for support. Caregivers need a break too. Make arrangements for any necessary fill-in help by building a support team of friends and family who can fill in for you if an emergency happens or you are ill or utilize respite care services in your community.
5. Keep your medical appointments: Make sure you get your annual check-up. Your health should be your main priority. Don’t ignore signs from your body if you feel someone is wrong. Have a doctor look at it.
6. Indulge: Take some time to focus on you. This can be taking 15-20 minutes each day focusing on yourself or treating yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert to take yourself away from the situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing to your aging relative. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to feel good
7. Support: Find a local caregiver support group to form a network of support around you. Ask loved ones and friends if they are aware of anyone else caring for a loved one. Perhaps they could help you connect to that person. It is healthy to have someone to talk to about what you are experiencing. You do not have to attend a support group but you should have someone you can talk to.