Caregivers And Their Personal Health: Embracing Carers Initiative
This has been a Thrifty Mom Media influencer outreach project. This post has been
sponsored by EMD Serono, which means I have been compensated. My opinion is all my
own and it is also truthful.
A conversation arose the other day about empty nesters. Comments were made how if a couple doesn’t have a connection now with the kids, it can be really hard when the kids leave. And as no marriage is perfect I made sure to listen and keep different ideas in mind. But later when my husband and I were talking it clicked that we will never be empty nesters for we are and will continue to be carers or caregivers.
Lil Man will never be able to live on his own. He is currently 8 and can not read. He isn’t using the potty by himself. While he can put clothes on and off, he doesn’t understand what clothes he needs and weather appropriate. He can feed himself but still does not use a fork regularly nor can he prepare a meal. All these tasks and more have to be done for him.
So I not only hold the title of Mother, Wife but also Unpaid Caregiver. I care for Lil Man as any mother does for their child, but with the added self-care duties that he will always need help with.
Recently I learned about the Embracing Carers Initiative by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operating as EMD Serono in the US and Canada, and I wanted to share. Embracing Carers is a global initiative led in collaboration with leading carer organizations around the world. The goal is to increase awareness and discussion about needs of carers.
Being a caregiver involves work in the home and help with daily activities, such as bathing and bathroom functions, feeding, grooming, taking medication, and even housework. Most also help make and keep appointments with doctors, provide or arrange transportation and serve as a companion – on top of caring for their own family.
No wonder nearly half (47 %) of unpaid carers have feelings of depression, with 57 %
feeling they needed medical care/ support for a mental health condition (depression, anxiety, stress) due to their role as an unpaid carer or caregiver. Of these, 25 % have not sought medical help.
High rates of depressive symptoms and mental health problems among caregivers, compounded with the physical strain of caring for someone who cannot perform activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, grooming, and other personal care activities, can put many caregivers at serious risk for poor physical health.
What are the symptoms of caregiver burnout?
They may include:
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
- Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless.
- Changes in appetite, weight, or both.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
- Getting sick more often.
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring.
How do caregivers take care of themselves?
Focus on the following self-care practices:
- Learn and use stress-reduction techniques, e.g. meditation, prayer, yoga, Tai Chi.
- Attend to your own healthcare needs.
- Get proper rest and nutrition.
- Exercise regularly, even if only for 10 minutes at a time.
- Take time off without feeling guilty.
For our family, we recently moved back up north. While there are many factors that played into the choice, the main reasons where family. My family and friends and are all up here and I knew that would be more support and help for not only Lil Man but myself. I have shared that depression runs in my family and that I too suffer from it. But most likely the trigger with it all has been dealing with the stress and care of it all.
I share all of this to bring awareness. Awareness for those who are caregivers themselves. Awareness to those on the outside who have family or friends who are in the position of caregiver. Be aware of the personal care that is needed and how to get help.
I also challenge you!
- Share the blog post.
- Post messages of Hope intended for caregivers globally with #CareforaCarer.
- If you see #CareforaCarer on Twitter take a moment to hit Retweet.
- If you belong to an organization or a business that supports carers or caregivers please share your positive programs or examples as well.