A thank you to caregivers
The role of caregiving includes challenges and sacrifice, and yet so many do it in the name of unconditional love. Over many years of research, we have witnessed caregivers going above and beyond for their loved ones and recognize the important role they play in our patients’ health. While our ultimate goal at Clinvest Research is to pursue medical breakthroughs for those suffering from many conditions, we are extremely thankful for the caregivers of our patients and strive to honor and support them as well. Caregivers need to be recognized for the important services they provide and how their health and wellness should take priority for that reason.
The importance of caregivers
The role of a caregiver varies depending on the needs and conditions of their loved one and may change over time, but the importance of a caregiver remains constant. Caregivers step into that role when a loved one experiences a difficult diagnosis. They are usually family members or friends that recognize their loved one’s need for physical, practical, and emotional support. One person (a spouse or family member) often assumes the role of the primary or lead caregiver. However, nearby friends and family can also function as caregivers as well. Some conditions (i.e. Alzheimer’s disease) require around the clock caregiving. Other conditions (i.e. chronic migraine) may require a case to case form of caregiving and may mean providing support, understanding or assisting with household chores and family responsibilities. A few needs that caregivers meet include:
- Providing support, encouragement, and understanding
- Helping manage symptoms and side effects
- Coordinating medical appointments
- Providing a ride to appointments
- Assisting with meals
- Helping with household chores and family responsibilities
- Handling insurance and billing issues
- Giving medications
- Assisting with everyday living needs like dental hygiene and bathing
- Providing around the clock care
Caring for the caregiver
Having a healthy caregiver has a beneficial impact on those dealing with chronic illness. The most important, but often the most forgotten, thing a caregiver can do is prioritize their own self-care. Caregivers are known to put the needs of their loved ones above their own. In fact, studies have shown that caregivers have a lower level of physical and mental health over noncaregivers. Caregiver stress and burnout is real and normal but can be managed with a high level of self-care. Here are a few tips for caregivers to manage stress and avoid burnout:
1. Focus on your overall health
- Eat well balanced meals.
- Take a daily multivitamin.
- Exercise and get outside when possible.
- Strive to get enough sleep.
- See a doctor for wellness visits regularly.
2. Accept help when you need it.
Allow others to help. Say yes when others offer to take something off your plate.
3. Get connected to resources.
Find out if there are resources in your community that can assist with some of your caregiving tasks.
4. Get connected with others who understand.
Join a support group or seek out others who can provide validation and encouragement and also help with problem solving.
5. Stay connected with others who care about you.
Maintain relationships with those who can provide nonjudgmental support and can provide a listening ear.
6. Set reasonable goals for yourself and be honest with what you can do as a caregiver.
Break down tasks into smaller ones, make lists, and prioritize. Don’t agree to taking on more than you can handle and be willing to say no when you need to.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a chronic condition such as migraine or Alzheimer’s we are researching options.