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How can we support self-care for caregivers?

As caregivers, our health often takes a back seat and suffers because of all we do to support our loved ones. As friends and family members of caregivers, how can we better support (or encourage them to focus on) their self-care?

  1. As a the sole Caregiver for my husband over tge past 7 years, I can't count the number of times people would lovingly tell me to be sure and take care of myself. I appreciated their concern, but no one ever told me exactly how to take care of myself I've taken classes, and know how to manage frustration and stress, but each day is so full of selflessness. My day starts when he wakes up and ends when we go to bed. Doing anything just for me is nearly impossible at the stage we are currently in. That said, I do wish communities would offer more adult daycare or facilities that specialized in memory care. Our town has nothing. My lo will be going into memory care at the VA memory care unit here in two weeks. Many people caring for family cannot afford memory care or a nursing facility, that is an issue within itself.
    So to surmise, I would just say if you want to offer help, offer to stay with their lo while they go for a walk or run an errand. Sit down and visit with the caregiver because many times they spend days with no one to really speak too. Put actions behind your well intentioned words. 💜

    1. Wow, you are an amazing caregiver! For seven years, your unwavering devotion to your husband is truly admirable. Serving as a caregiver often means we put ourselves last, but it's crucial to prioritize our own self-care. As a caregiver myself for 12 years caring for my mother, I understand the struggle of finding personal time. Taking simple steps like wearing calming colors or drinking from a cool tumbler can work wonders.

      As a fellow caregiver, I agree that offering our time and following through with it can be the best gift of support for our own well-being. You are doing an incredible job, and know that you are not alone in this journey.

    2. Thank you for your thoughts on this. I especially relate to the concept of putting action behind words. Respite, rest, a meal, a conversation, these are all important ways to support caregivers. Please keep us updated on how things are going. Scott Team member

  2. thank you, Nikki. It's sharing like you have makes us realize that we're not alone. I have been caring for my wife for about 5 years now. Her mood shifts are quite random which affect me. Empathising is tough as i never really know what's going on in her mind....I find that when she is wrong about something, the gap between imagination and reality, i seldom correct her as i find it's rather pointless and is inclined to make her react angrily. I am about the start a Pilates class, run by a trained lady, at thecomplex in which we live. This will help her fitness, and mine for that matter, and get her chatting to other ladies as she won't mix unless it's arranged for her. while i realize routine is important i break it up with visits to the bush and the coast. my self care is reading, padel and occasional golf and walking our dog, including her when possible. i feel it's important to continue life as close to the way it was in the past.

    1. really appreciate you reaching out. My team mate Nikki posed a really good question. I think that it is really great that your complex offers a Pilates class, with a trained instructor. So important to help support your wife by pre-planning activities that will address self care and socialization. Plus, added bonus Pilates is great for our bodies and minds, too. I have danced my whole life and I have always gravitated toward Pilates.
      I am glad to hear that you are still enjoying padel, golf and going for walks. I saw you mentioned you have a dog that you like to go for walks with. I love animals and have a cat named Hamlin. I don't take him for walks but I do enjoy playing with him. It is relaxing and fun to see him happy. If you don't mind me asking what is your dog's name?
      Anyways thanks for reaching out. Please keep us posted on how Pilates goes. Appreciate you being part of our community. Just Keep Swimming...Lynn Marie, " Team Member"

  3. I totally understand how hard it can be. My father has taken care of my grandfather with Alzheimer's for 5 years since 2019. I have seen so many hardships he faced when he needed to go to my grandparents' home after work to see my grandfather's situation. At the same time, he needs to work to pay for my tuition as an international college student. Fortunately, he has one elder brother and one elder sister, and they can take turns looking after my grandfather. When my father takes a break, we usually go outside together or stay with each other at home to relieve stress.

    1. thank you for being here with our community and for sharing. I am thinking of you and your family. As a caregiver to my father, it was a lot of work. His need for care with my additional roles and responsibilities was a balancing act. I am fortunate and proud that I could care for and support him. My sisters and mother were wonderful caregivers, too and we all appreciated our team approach. I'm glad that you and your father and his siblings, who are so caring, can support each other. It's great that you and your father spend time together to ease your stressors. I used to take a lot of long walks to help ease my busy mind and fuel my body. I thought of you when I came across this article from our editorial team. We are here for you so please keep in touch. Respectfully, Nancy Team member

    2. Thank you so much for reaching out . Both of my parents had the Alzheimer's diagnosis. My dad was diagnosed when I was in college. I eventually became the sole caregiver for my mom.
      I am glad to hear that your dad has an older brother and sister that help out too. So good to have support when walking alongside our loved ones battling this terrible disease.
      You mentioned you were an international college student. Are you currently living away from your family? I was just wondering if you studying internationally, how you are doing and feeling?
      There was a period of time in my life, when I lived quite a distant from my family. My dad was in the hospital and I couldn't be there. I just remember having certain feelings about not being able to be there to help support in a physical manner. Honestly, at times a little guilty for not being able to help out. Even though, I knew what I was doing was important and I needed to be where I was.
      I have attached a link that talks about the emotional rollercoaster of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. Hope you find it helpful.
      Thank you again for reaching out. Best of luck to you with your studies. Please keep us posted on how your grandpa, your family, and you are doing.
      Just Keep Swimming...Lynn Marie, " Team Member"

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