Providing care to a loved one can be both challenging and empowering. Whether that loved one is a spouse who is sick or disabled, an elderly parent or young children, caregivers can often find themselves overwhelmed.
Caring for another individual is a full-time commitment and often requires the caregiver to leave a full-time job or make special accommodations. Caregivers may sacrifice more than just a career; they may forgo social activities and time with friends and even neglect their own health needs. According to Kathleen Boswell-Gregg, chief quality officer at Capital Medical Center in Olympia, a healthy balance is vital for any caregiver. This means asking for help from those around you when you need it.
“Don’t turn down any offer to help,” advises Boswell-Gregg. “If friends or family members offer to run an errand for you or stay with your loved one while you step out for a little while, let them help. This is one of the most important things a caregiver can do to relieve stress.”
Boswell-Gregg also emphasizes the importance of maintaining one’s health. “Whatever it takes to stay mentally healthy—you have to be a whole person to take care of others,” she says. This includes physical and mental health. If leaving the house is too difficult, encourage visits from friends. Even a few minutes of socializing can make a difference in the life of a caregiver. Also crucial, she says, is doing your best to maintain healthy eating habits, as well as getting adequate exercise.
Maintaining financial health, too, is important when acting as a caregiver. Boswell-Gregg suggests speaking with a financial adviser to ensure that financial needs are still being met, to avoid undue stress later on.
Kathleen Boswell-Gregg will be discussing these tips and more at the South Sound Women’s Day on March 22, 2014. For more information please visit southsoundwomensday.com.