By Dr. Macie Smith
Are you a family caregiver? Chances are, you may not even realize you are because you are simply doing what comes naturally for your family.
But the reality is that there are millions of people helping a family member live their best life. This could include activities important for daily living such as bathing and dressing, paying bills, shopping and providing transportation. It also may involve emotional support and help with managing a chronic disease or disability. In fact, an estimated 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months.
First things first: I applaud you. Family caregiving is one of the most stressful and rewarding roles that anyone may ever face. That’s why it’s so important that you take care of yourself as well.
In order to ensure you are providing the best possible care to your loved ones, it’s important to pay attention to signs of caregiver stress and burnout such as:
- Lack of focus
- An overwhelming sense of pressure
- Disruptions in your eating or sleeping habits
- Poor performance at work
If you notice any of these signs, try to alleviate your stress with these activities:
- Get out and get active
- Go for walks with friends
- Participate in your favorite activities
- And make sure to schedule routine medical, dental and other check-ups
Also, delegate tasks to other family members when possible.
You can also seek respite care options. Companies like SYNERGY HomeCare can provide help and give you a much-needed break.
Dr. Macie P. Smith is a licensed gerontology social worker who is focused on helping families support their aging loved ones through long-term care. Specifically, Dr. Smith educates caregivers on how to care for seniors with dementia. She is an advocate for specialized care and assists others in finding a way to provide a better quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dr. Smith has dedicated over 22 years of her life working in gerontology and assisting families in finding personalized solutions for dementia care. For more articles by Dr. Macie Smith, go to https://synergyhomecare.com/blog/.
Click here for more free Respite Care resources, including our free Family Caregiver Ultimate Guide.
Find out what SYNERGY HomeCare can do for you and your family.