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Stories

November – A month to care for caregivers

RoseannMartocciaHeadshotRoseann MartocciaCaregivers give of themselves every day. They are unsung heroes and heroines who do what needs to be done. Caregivers are your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Caregiving can be rewarding as helping others can bring much joy and satisfaction.

Whether caring for an elder or a family member with a disability or raising their grandchild, caregivers are juggling many parts of their own life, and often the person they are taking care of is on their minds 24/7. Caregiving can be intermittent, ongoing, daily, short-term, or span a number of years, with changes over the course of time.

caregiver RespiteTake some time out for yourself. Working on a creative project, for example, is an excellent way to relieve some stress and feel relaxed and renewed.

Caregivers help with all types of care – physical, emotional, and financial – as well as advocacy and “navigating the system.” They are often preoccupied with the needs of others and put themselves on the back burner.

Caregiving is full of the “unexpected,” and keeping to your own routine is a proactive step. Do what works best for you and gives you the break that “recharges” your emotional and physical wellbeing. Though it is difficult to carve out time for yourself, it is really important to take care of your physical and mental health when you are caring for others. It will help you, help the one you love, and help your overall schedule remain as uninterrupted as possible.

  • Exercise of any sort is a good way to reenergize. Whether it be working out at home, taking a walk, working in the garden, or dancing in your living room, physical movement of any type or duration is helpful.
  • Finding ways to “get away” can give you just the break you need and refresh your spirit. This might be time on the phone or by email talking with a friend, practicing relaxation techniques, or simply sharing coffee or a meal with others.
  • Think about what kind of help you need and don’t overlook offers of help from others. When people offer to help, caregivers often turn them down because they don’t want to be a burden. When you ask for a specific kind of help, the person is more comfortable doing it and you will get the help you need.

November is Caregivers Month. Don’t go it alone. Reach out for the support you deserve as you give so much to others. Contact the Information & Caregiver Resource Center at LifePath. We can assist with questions, referrals, and resources to help you. We will listen to your situation over the phone or in person and present options for you to choose or explore further. We can help with respite, one time needs, and ongoing services or help you locate assistance. Contact us here.

Read more at www.mass.gov/elders/caregiver-support/.