In Alzheimer's & Dementia, Mental & Physical Disability, New Family Caregivers

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November is National Family Caregivers Month and at eFamilyCare we welcome every chance to recognize the invaluable contributions of family caregivers. This month presents an ideal opportunity to expand our ability to support family caregivers–making sure they have the necessary help to manage their own well-being as they care for others. To celebrate National Family Caregivers Month, we’ve compiled some tips and resources geared towards promoting self-care for family caregivers, to provide better health outcomes for all involved.

Confront Caregiving Stress

Mental Health America notes that acknowledging the mental and emotional challenges of caregiving can be difficult to do when accustomed to prioritizing other family members’ care. Yet, admitting feelings of stress, exhaustion, isolation, and even resentment can be a first step towards finding ways to handle these caregiving obstacles. Organizations like Caregiver Action Network offer online support groups for connecting with others in similar situations. Expressing feelings of stress and anxiety to close friends and family can also be a helpful coping tool.

Manage Expectations

Caring for an older adult family member is an ever-evolving process. Inevitable changes in health may feel like caregiving setbacks, but it’s important to manage expectations as loved ones’ health care needs shift and/or progress. Understanding this as part of the journey of caregiving can be helpful for reframing how these health events are perceived. Additionally, remaining realistic about what caregivers are capable of is important for redefining success and steering away from negative thoughts that detract from the incredible value of caregivers’ contributions.

Make Space for Self-Care

To avoid caregiver burnout, it’s essential that family caregivers find ways to rest and recharge. If living at home with an older adult, find spaces–such as an indoor window garden or a reading corner–that can function as a personal sanctuary. Call on friends and family members to help out when at all possible. The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center also offers a comprehensive collection of programs and tools to assist caregivers in obtaining respite services.

Get the Help You Need

eFamilyCare is dedicated to making sure family caregivers receive the necessary support for managing care. We assist family caregivers in accessing and benefitting from such resources as Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)–a database of state-specific public and private nonprofits addressing a range of concerns, from legal matters to housing and insurance queries– to this detailed list from The National Alliance for Caregiving providing a wealth of caregiver information.

Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone and eFamilyCare is here to help. Get started by checking out these great sites:

National Family Caregiver Support Program– information and access to services for caregivers

Caregiver Action Network– a nonprofit organization offering education, peer support, and resources to caregivers throughout the country, free of charge.

ElderCare Locator– a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging

At eFamilyCare, it is our mission to empower family caregivers, ensuring their vital and sustained involvement in the care of their older adult loved ones. For National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize the importance of family caregivers in maintaining better health and quality of life and remain committed to helping family caregivers meet and maintain this goal for themselves and those they love.

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