By: Emily Walsh
November is nationally recognized as National Family Caregivers Month, a time that we remember those who provide physical and emotional care for loved ones. The Caregiver Action Network has taken on this awareness campaign and has given November of 2016 the theme, “Take Care to Give Care.” It is with this that we remember how important it is for us to keep those who are in the position of being caregivers in our thoughts and remember that they need care too.
Caring for a family member or friend can be rewarding and enhance your bond, but it can also be emotionally and physically taxing. For the caregivers out there who are looking for some guidance, the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, working with Ageless Grace, put together some tips to help take care to give care.
Beginning each and every day with a positive attitude can change the way you perceive your situation. Find something to be thankful for when you first wake up and it can put the rest of your day under a positive light. No matter how challenging things are, remember that your work is meaningful and appreciated. What you do matters, so stay uplifted for your loved one and for yourself!
There are a multitude of reasons to continue to eat right, get enough sleep, and stay active. As a caregiver, remembering your own health’s value becomes even more important. It can often feel selfish to take time for yourself to exercise or get a good night’s sleep but before you can take care of someone else, you have to be able to take care of yourself. Don’t neglect what body and minds needs. Be sure to do things that make you mentally healthy, and don’t skip out on the regular doctors appointments.
You’re Not Alone
Being a caregiver can sometimes feel very isolating, but remember, you have friends or family who would love to hear from you. Reach out for dinner, a cup of coffee, or even just a few minutes to chat on the phone can help beat the loneliness you may feel. Cameron Von St. James had this to say as his wife’s caregiver after her diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help or take offers of help. Ask family and friends to help when needed. Mobilize your support system and engage with the people around you. Many individuals say they would help if only they knew how.”