As we go throughout our lives, we tend to take on each challenge as it comes our way. Interestingly we don’t categorize ourselves as a different kind of person for meeting those challenges. For example, if you are a wife and your child starts having seizures, you don’t suddenly start calling yourself a caregiver. You still consider yourself a parent. So, what is a caregiver? Why is it important to recognize if you are a caregiver? Well, that is what this article aims to discuss.
What is a Caregiver?
According to Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States, “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers. Caregiving is universal.”
When it comes to providing care for a family member or friend, only a few out of the 40 million Americans providing care actually identify themselves as caregivers, but if you’re spending any time helping someone with their healthcare, then you should be. If you help provide anyone with any of the following items, then you’re considered a caregiver (even if you’re providing these services to a friend or neighbor.)
- Car rides to doctor or clinic appointments
- Rides or pickups at the pharmacy
- Helping to monitor vitals or symptoms of medical conditions
- Communication with health care professionals
- Providing advocacy on behalf of a provider or agency
- Helping someone stay mobile
- Helping someone get dressed, shower, or eat
- Providing assistance with grocery shopping or errands
- Providing housework, meal prep, or financial assistance
If you do any of these things, for anyone, whether it is a younger sibling, parent, or child, then you are a caregiver.
Why it is Important to Recognize if You Are a Caregiver
If you are a caregiver, then recognizing it is important. When we dedicate more time to others, we have less time for ourselves, which can lead to emotional burnout, physical stress, and other issues. Recognizing that you provide care to others helps you recognize that you may need to dedicate some time to self-care.
Caring for yourself is very important, because it is the key to ensuring that your own health and well-being is maintained, which allows you to be a better caregiver. Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you in your mission:
- Take time to walk every day, even if it is only for a few minutes. Walking or getting regular physical activity can boost your energy level, reduce stress, and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol at healthier levels.
- Remember to eat 3 healthy meals a day. Your nutrition is directly tied to your energy and health, so pack your meals full of healthy vitamins and minerals. You can never eat too many vegetables!
- Take a break. Whether you get help from a friend, family member, or loved one, you need to find some time each day to get away and do something for yourself. Consider respite care through a local agency, where someone trustworthy can come and provide you with a few hours of much-needed rest while they care for your loved one.
Don’t forget that at Homewatch CareGivers of Woodbridge, we’re here to support you with passion and purpose. We can provide a few hours of companionship, temporary post-surgical support, or even 24-hour elder care. The possibilities are endless. Contact us today to learn more about all of the different options there are and how affordable it can be.