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Friday, November 30, 2007

Caregivers' Self-Care During Holidays - Know You Are Special

It is tempting to overlook our own needs in order to take care of others during the holidays. However, if we are not functioning well or our own health gives out we won't be able to continue caregiving. The giving spirit of the holidays seems to spur the impulse sometimes to meet ideals of generosity and caring. As caregivers, we are already putting our heart and soul into helping others and giving our best efforts.

When I worked in medical offices we knew that the holidays are one of the busiest times. The stress and exhaustion that occurs when people try to heroically sacrifice themselves for others is common during the Thanksgiving to New Years weeks.

Guilt is common among caregivers, and so is wishing we could do just a little more. If you feel like this perhaps it will help to know you have plenty of company.

By the end of the holidays caregivers can be collapsing from exhaustion.

We all wish we could do more. But, just being a caregiver means you are a warm, caring person, and a very special person. There is no need to try to prove yourself further.

What can each of us, as caregivers, do to take good care of ourselves? The self-care tips are frequently listed and probably familiar to most of us. Nutrition, vitamins, exercise, social time, activities and hobbies, relaxation and stress reduction are some of the steps. Easy to say, but not always easy to do when time and money cause constraints.

Finding respite care is one of the top priorities and challenges. This can include programs from the Alzheimer's Association, the Area Agency on Aging, Adult Day Care, Shared Care, and paid Agency Caregivers or Independent Caregivers who meet the necessary criteria.

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