LifeStream Services is joining the nation in celebrating National Family Caregivers Month throughout the month of November. There are over 53 million caregivers in the United States alone. These individuals spend their time making life better for their loved one through the selfless care they provide. This year’s national campaign, spearheaded by Caregiver Action Network, celebrates the identities and passions of family caregivers. Far too often the role of family caregiver can overshadow your identity. While this role is important, it is important to not lose sight of who you are. The campaign hashtag, #CaregiverAnd, shifts that focus, by highlighting the other roles, activities, and passions that make up your life.
As your local Aging and Disability Resource Center, LifeStream understands the impact caregivers have on their loved ones and their communities. We know caregivers value being able to provide the care that they do, however, caregiving is not an easy task. It can be challenging and demanding. Throughout the month of November we’ll be sharing resources, tips, and information for caregivers and hosting events to show our appreciation. Read on to learn tips on how to relax and take care of yourself as a caregiver and information on our special caregiver events.
How to Relax as a Caregiver
Stress and exhaustion are normal experiences for a caregiver. This means you care! However, it is important to take the necessary steps to alleviate as much stress as possible. Your mental and physical well-being are so important. This can be done in a few ways:
- Allow others to help you. Letting someone else run errands for you or talking to someone about your stress are good ways to prioritize your well-being. Support groups are a common favorite. This allows you to connect and relate to other caregivers.
- Set personal goals. Accomplishments are important to celebrate. You will become more positive when you accomplish your own goals.
- Take some personal time. Whether you enjoy reading, painting, or cooking, take some time to do something fun. This will help you feel positive and happy.
- Take the time to exercise. This will help both your physical and mental well-being. Yoga is known to be a good source of exercise, and it allows you to learn breathing techniques. This will challenge you and allow you to de-stress.
Taking Care of Yourself and Your Loved One
Caring for a loved one can be difficult for one person to manage alone. An important thing to remember is that you are not expected to be an expert on your family member’s illness or disability. Find resources and experts to ask questions and adhere to their suggestions. Be knowledgeable enough to feel comfortable with the care guidelines that you put in place for your family member. Being the sole caregiver for a family member can take a lot out of a person. If you are able to find another trusted family member or caregiver who can alleviate some of that stress, this will allow you to find time to take care of yourself as well.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a family caregiver is seeing them lose their ability to do things. This might include memory loss, loss of mobility, etc. These aspects of aging can be difficult for a family member to see and facilitate. It is important to remember their love and admiration for the care that you are giving them. You allow them to be more independent and to live in a comfortable setting. Give yourself grace and recognize when it’s time to ask for help and lean on your community for support.
Caregiver Month Events:
- Kinship Resources Drive-Thru: Friday, November 5 from 3:30pm to 5:30pm at the YMCA of Muncie (Downtown) located at 500 S. Mulberry St. Muncie, IN 47305 (located along the Howard Street sidewalk). Adults providing care for a child relative (a niece, nephew, grandchild, etc.) can drive-thru to receive shelf-stable food, books, resources, and more. Registration is not required.
- Caregiver Drive-Thru Appreciation Events: Caregivers are invited to drive-thru to receive a sweet treat and resources at three separate locations including:
- Richmond Caregiver Drive-Thru Appreciation: Wednesday, November 3 from 11:00am to noon at The Leland Legacy located at 900 S. A St. Richmond, IN 47374.
- Muncie Caregiver Drive-Thru Appreciation: Tuesday, November 9 from 11:00am to noon at Minnetrista located at 1200 N. Minnetrista Pkwy. Muncie, IN 47304.
- Connersville Caregiver Drive-Thru Appreciation: Wednesday, November 10 from 11:00am to noon at Majestic Care of Connersville located at 1029 E. 5th Connersville, IN 47331.
- LifeStream Live with Angie: Every Thursday at 2pm on Facebook Live. Angie Jenkins, Outreach Coordinator, will be sharing helpful information for caregivers and other relevant topics.
The National Family Caregivers Month campaign is spearheaded by Caregiver Action Network. Learn more about the campaign and find valuable resources at www.caregiveraction.org.