Friday April 14, 2017
It is difficult, challenging and often lonely to be a caregiver. It is not unusual for caregivers to provide help for others and neglect their personal needs. The result may be the development of anxiety, depression, loneliness and isolation, and chronic illnesses. It is essential for caregivers to take time out of their busy days. Besides working a busy job or caring for a family, being a fulltime caregiver, may include meal preparation, monitoring and scheduling medical care and appointments and/or care from outside caretakers and of course worrying.
One essential part of caretaking that is usually missing is an emphasis on caring for the caregiver. Most caregivers will laugh at this suggestion and simply say that there is not any time in their day. However, there are many ways to find and provide care. Here are a few suggestions that don’t take a great deal of time.
- Therapy. Sitting down with a counselor, therapist, or psychologist can be a way to sort out some of your issues that are weighing on your mind. You can find psychologist, counselors or social workers in your area by consulting. http://philadelphiapsychology.org/ or https://www.psychologytoday.com. There are also message boards where you can ask questions to other caretakers https://www.alzconnected.org/.
- Support Groups. It is helpful to speak with other caregivers in a group setting, share ideas, and learn new information from speakers and each other. You can learn about support groups online. Also the Alzheimer’s Association runs many support groups. The Abramson Center runs support groups in Northeast Philadelphia, Jenkintown and at their Center. For more information, please call 215-371-1369.
- Mindfulness. A way to improve mental health by paying attention on purpose, being present in the moment, being non-judgmental, and knowing what is on the mind
- Online apps. Many caregivers find mindfulness and meditation to be helpful ways to reduce anxiety and depression. Some recommended apps that are free or low cost are:
o Breathe2Relax: Involves focused breathing to reduce stress.
o Happify: An app that teach aspects of positive psychology
o Buddhify: A modern mindfulness app found on the itunes store with a small cost
o Headspace: Free 10 day program with 10 minute guided breathing mediation
o Smiling Mind
o Mindfulness Daily
- Music. Many caregivers find listening to music to be relaxation.
- Watching television or a movie.
- Playing computer games.
- Talking to a friend
- Exercise especially talking a walk
As you can see there are many ways for a caregiver to receive a little TLC that do not take a great deal of time and do not cost a great deal of money. Try to find a few minutes a day or at least 15-30 minutes a week for time for yourself or “ME” time. It can only help you be a better caretaker and you may even like it.
1. Repetition of questions
- Changing Behaviors at Night
- Appetite changes
- Lack of Emotions
- Disinterest in Activities
- Attachment to one caregiver
- Lack of Filter
- Child like Behaviors