April 2019

Dear Members and Friends of the Church of the Holy Communion,

Approximately 85% of care given to older adults, including those with different stages of dementia, comes from family members, not from nursing homes or other health care providers.”(Research from U of MN School of Public Health).

I have many dear friends who have been caregivers for loved ones at home or have been professional caregivers. In many cases, they have put the needs of others above their own needs. This can put the caregivers at higher risk for illness, depression, substance abuse and low levels of self-care. This can also lead to a lower quality of life for both the caregiver and the care receiver. Be aware that grief is not unusual among caregivers.

Self-care tips that can help to reduce stress and improve caregiver/ patient relationships. AARP AND FAMILY CAREGIVER AALIANCE

1. Admit that you need help and accept it, whether it’s your need for an assist with cooking meals or just taking time for a chat.

2. Get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, and take a nap when your patient is napping.

3. Move! Even moderate activity, like a walk, rejuvenates mind and body.

4. Boost your mood and energy by eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, good fats, and protein.

5. Reward your hard work by taking time for activities you enjoy.

6. Talk. You may be mostly listening as a caregiver, but it’s critical for you to chat with a friend, a therapist or support group about your joys as well as your frustrations.

7. Limit your coffee consumption but drink 8 or more glasses of water a day.

8. Take time off, if you can, to catch up on sleep and activities at home

9. Take time to pray, meditate or practice positive self talk.

10. Tell your doctor and other healthcare providers that you’re a caregiver.

I used many of these tips when caring for my daughter after her heart surgery.

With love and care, Judy Gardner, Parish Nurse April, 2019