Best Life: Advice for caregivers during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 6:41 AM CST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- In the U.S., about one in five adults is currently providing unpaid health or supportive care to someone they love. It takes patience, time, and energy to be a caregiver and it isn’t always easy. Ivanhoe has some tips for any type of caregiver.

An aging parent, a sick spouse, or a child with a disability. Caregiving comes in different forms and it can be both rewarding and stressful. More than 65 million Americans provide care for a family member or friend during any given year. About 40 percent of caregivers leave their jobs to have more time to care for a loved one, and about half of all caregivers feel they have no choice about taking on the responsibilities. So, what makes for a good caregiver? The first step is to take care of yourself!

Rosemary Laird, MD, a geriatrician said, “A phrase I use often is ‘take your oxygen first.’ If you don’t, you’re going to be less capable of helping that loved one.”

Make sure you get plenty of rest, eat a well-balanced diet, and don’t skip your own medical appointments. Also, delegate responsibilities. For instance, if you’re providing day-to-day care, maybe another family member can manage finances or medications. When possible, let the person being cared for participation in decision-making. Support groups are another great resource to help you connect with other caregivers. And recognize when it becomes too much. You might want to consider an assisted living or another type of facility for your loved one.

“You can spend your time in a much more quality-filled way than when you were having to dole out the medicine and fight with them to get a shower and do those tasks,” explained Dr. Laird.

A study found 18 percent of caregivers whose spouses had dementia died before their spouses. The Family Caregiver Alliance and Caregiver Action Network are good resources for finding online or in-person support groups.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.

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