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Posted: June 22, 2005

Professional Caregiving

Caregiver? Who Me?

Ask yourself the following:

Do I have a family member or friend for whom I provide any assistance?

Do I find myself worrying about this person's health or safety?

Do I feel an obligation or commitment to check out if they need shopping, medication, a ride, or assistance with home chores?

A "yes" to any of these means that you can count yourself in the growing ranks of caregivers. Yes, its providing care to a loved one, and many millions do it, but too often one critical responsibility is overlooked. Look in the mirror. This is the face of the person whose care is critical in the provision of assistance to another. If you overlook this, the quality of the care you give or the length of time you can sustain it, will surely decline.

The following tips will guide you in providing the best care possible, and in doing so, you may find your burden lightening. Five years from now, when you look back, you will see you did everything you could to ensure your health, which allowed you the emotional and physical energy to sustain your caregiving.

Trust others' offers to assist you
Arm yourself with medical and other care-related information
Keep up with your own medical needs
Exercise and eat well.

Create a support network with whom you can share, laugh and cry
Allow yourself to use outside resources-in-home care, adult day, respite care, personal coach
Recognize the signs of stress and depression, and seek help if needed
Engage in a new activity, like yoga or painting, just for you!

Open your home to friends and family
Family traditions are a must, but let others help out

Simplify daily routines and organize schedules
Encourage input from person you are caring for
Listen to your heart
Facilitate family meetings to coordinate care responsibilities

If you do nothing else, cut these tips out and keep them with you. Caring for yourself is the most important part of caring for a loved one.

_____

Sylvia Nissenboim is a licensed clinical social worker and who has been working in the field of adult day services in the St. Louis area. She is the director of four adult care and enrichment centers for the American Red Cross and also operates a personal and professional coaching firm, LifeWork Transitions, specializing in caregiving concerns, adult day care management and other aging services, such as virtual coaching and family care giving support groups. She co-authored The Positive Interactions Program, is a national speaker, and has served as president of the Missouri Adult Day Care Association and as a member of the Missouri Governor's Advisory Council on Aging..

© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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