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Preparing to Be a Family Caregiver

by Stephanie Kostizen, MSW | Dec 28, 2022

Every November, in honor of National Family Caregiver Month, it is important to show our appreciation for individuals who have taken on the task of caregiving. They give their time and attention to improve the quality of life for their loved ones who due to physical/cognitive decline or illness require extra support.

Caregivers play an essential role in the care of those with serious illness. The support they provide is vital to ensuring that their loved one’s needs are met. Although caregiving can be rewarding, when starting on the caregiver journey, new caregivers can become overwhelmed by the needs of their loved ones and may need direction on how to best support them.

There are many resources in our community that can provide help but knowing where to start can sometimes be a daunting task.

  1. Create a team - A caregiving team can include help from family members, friends, or neighbors, and support from church groups or other organizations your loved one may be affiliated with.
  2. Accept help - Many caregivers have people who offer to help, but, in that moment, are often unable to think of what support would be helpful. When you have a quiet moment, make a list of tasks that may be helpful like having someone sit with your loved one during mealtime, picking up a few groceries, or just checking in on them when you aren’t able to be there.
  3. Take care of yourself - The demands of caregiving can result in caregivers putting their needs last. It is important to make your health, social, and emotional needs a priority. You cannot take care of your loved one if you don’t take care of yourself.
  4. Create an open dialogue - Sometimes the loss of independence that your loved one may be experiencing can result in emotional turmoil or even disagreements. Validating your loved one’s feelings can help them feel heard and understood. Sharing that helping them gives you peace of mind and that your intentions come from a place of love can help diffuse conflict and strengthen your relationship.
  5. Seek out emotional support - Stress, feelings of loneliness, role reversals or changes in the dynamic of your relationship with your loved one, grief, and depression can all be emotions experienced by caregivers. Seeking out support from a support group or mental health provider can help you process these emotions.
  6. Make memories - Caring for a loved one can lead to many moments of joy, humor, love, and connection that will create lasting, treasured memories. Take the time to recognize moments of joy and triumph when reflecting on your day and be kind and gracious to yourself on days that may be more difficult.

For more information on caregiving support, services at Caring Circle that can help, or general assistance with getting started on care, please call 269.429.7100.

Dec 28, 2022 Reporting from Niles, MI
Preparing to Be a Family Caregiver
https://www.spectrumhealthlakeland.org/health-wellness/ask-the-experts/ask-the-experts/2022/12/28/preparing-to-be-a-family-caregiver
Dec 28, 2022
Every November, in honor of National Family Caregiver Month, it is important to show our appreciation for individuals who have taken on the task of caregiving. They give their time and attention to improve the quality of life for their loved ones who due to physical/cognitive decline or illness requ

Preparing to Be a Family Caregiver

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