Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Caregivers are important in our society, but they rarely get the support and help they need for a number of reasons.
My wife was a caregiver for her mother for many years and the toll on my wife was heavy. So she coped with giving care for her mom before her mom died and it was hard on her.

Over the years I gathered what I thought was extremely important advice about caregiving and how to lessen the strong emotional impact it can have on an individual. So if you are a care giver or if you are trying to help a caregiver, this advice is for you.

1)     Recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect caregiver.
2)     When people offer to help, the answer should usually be YES
3)     Remember that you are responding to a disease, not to the person that once was
4)     Initiate the 3 types of activities that you need for yourself – choose activities that:
a.      Involve other people such as lunch with a friend
b.      Give you a sense of accomplishment such as exercising
c.      Make you feel good or relaxed such as watching a funny movie
5)     Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else
6)     Look in the mirror and see a very special person doing the best you can
7)     Try to sleep at least 7.5 hours a night
8)     Look for humour in everyday situations
9)     Keep a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings
10)        Make quick but healthy meals
11)        Arrange a telephone contact so that someone calls daily to make sure everything is OK
12)        Watch out for signs of depression and get help right away 
13)        When people offer to help, suggest specific things they can do such as getting information (e.g. about support services), cooking or housework 
14)        Learn how to give physical care without injuring yourself (e.g. proper lifting and transfer techniques) 
15)        Learn about ways to promote the independence of the care recipient
16)        Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and as a citizen
17)        My final word of advice get support when you need it.
a.    Support groups provide a wonderful service, both for the patient and the caregiver.  
b.   Don’t be afraid to get involved, at least to determine whether the group “fits” the situation

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