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Posts Tagged ‘caregivers’

30 November 2017 Finding A Special Gift For the Caregivers In Your Life

by Jennifer Scott

Pixabay.com

Caregivers have one of the hardest jobs imaginable.  Whether paid or volunteer, they bear an emotionally heavy load.  It only makes sense that they would top a giver’s list during the holiday season, but finding that perfect gift can be cumbersome. This is especially true when the gift carries with it a message of understanding and appreciation for the caregiver’s sacrifice.  Here are a few gift ideas to help you show the caregiver in your life just how much you care for them.

1. Massage Therapy & Bodywork

Making sure caregivers get time to relax and destress is incredibly important, especially when that person doesn’t get paid.  If you want to give your caregiver a chance to decompress during or after the holidays, consider massage and bodywork options. Massage therapy services come in a variety of forms referred to as modalities.  While there is sure to be one that meets the needs of the caregiver in your life, consider their comfort level before purchasing a specific service. One to consider includes Swedish massage, which is the most common type of massage therapy.  Others, like acupressure, reflexology, and deep tissue, are design to address specific needs.

2. Spa Services

If your caregiver isn’t comfortable getting a massage, consider the alternative services available at a spa for pampering they are sure to enjoy.  If you aren’t close enough to the caregiver to know their preferences, getting them a gift certificate that will cover massage but can be used on any service, like facials, manicures and pedicures, or styling, is a great option.  If you are still unsure, consider purchasing a gift card for a national chain like Ulta Beauty, so the caregiver can elect beauty services on their own or purchase their favorite products instead.

3. Subscriptions

Caregivers are often so busy caring for the needs of their charge that they sometimes impose the same dietary restrictions on themselves for the sake of time.  Meal subscriptions like Blue Apron and other delivery services can make preparing wholesome, delicious meals a snap.  If meals aren’t appropriate, consider other types of subscription services, like wine, cosmetics, or magazines.  Really, just about anything your caregiver enjoys is available as a subscription at whatever price point your budget allows, and it will be a gift that will continue to give throughout the year.

4. Adult Activity Books

While massage therapy and spa treatments are obvious ways to help a caregiver relax, they aren’t practical activities for every day. Those spending a significant amount of time monitoring your loved one may enjoy simpler ways to destress and pass the time while your loved one is resting.  Consider things like adult coloring books, activity books, crossword puzzles, and sudoku.  These offer an element of lighthearted fun to the caregiver’s day without a significant time commitment.

While these options are all great ways to show the caregiver you care and can help them relax during the holidays or year to come, they may not work for everyone. Gift giving is a very personal activity for both the giver and receiver. If you find that none of these meet your needs for one reason or another, just remember to stay focused on helping your caregiver relax, and don’t overthink it. Regardless of the gift you ultimately choose, the show of appreciation for the sacrifices they make will shine through to the recipient.

 


Another highly effective and lasting tool one could give to the caregivers in our lives, is the gift of stress-control, healing and rejuvenation. By using scientifically based breathing and meditation exercises, our Éiriú Eolas program offers exactly that. It is available for free on our website, with the option of purchasing it as a gift for your loved ones during this coming holiday season.

8 August 2011 Caregivers need care too!

The Hindu
by Hema Vijay
August 7, 2011

A caregiver's work is never easy. Researchers have found that chronic stress in caregivers can lead to lowered cell-mediated immunity and high blood pressure

Suffering from a chronic disease that leaves you bedridden or dependent can be difficult, but, at least, your problem is recognised and its challenges are anticipated. However, what gets downplayed is the stress undergone by those who care for such persons. In our society especially, we tend to dismiss even prolonged care-giving (which may include anything from bathing a sick person to keeping him company for long hours) as just ‘fulfilling a duty’.

Impact of stress

Researchers have found that chronic stress in caregivers can lead to lowered cell-mediated immunity and high blood pressure. A U.S. study found that about one-third of the caregivers to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have symptoms of depression.

Caregivers can end up feeling irritable, exhausted, discontented, and sleep- disoriented. “It is very difficult for them to see somebody they had known as intelligent and outgoing get reduced to this dependent state. The helplessness hurts, more so, when the ailment gets progressively worse. There is also guilt when caregivers lose their temper when dealing with adamant and uncooperative wards. Then, there’s anxiety about ‘Who will take care of me if I were to fall sick?’”, says Lakshmi Vijaykumar, consultant psychiatrist and founder, Sneha.

“It can be a thankless job, if the person being cared for is not in a condition to appreciate the help and the support. Sometimes, he even blames the caregiver for his problems. That is the toughest thing for a caregiver to cope with,” says R. Mangala, consultant psychiatrist, SCARF. There’s another danger. “If pre-occupation with the sick person results in the rest of the family getting little attention, it can lead to marital and other conflicts within the family,” warns Dr. Lakshmi.

The caregiver begins to cut down on outings, travel and other activities, and frustration builds up. Pent-up frustration might even make the caregiver get angry with the very person they are caring for, or themselves. “Those providing care over a long period of time should set aside at least half-an-hour a day, and one day a week to go out and meet people or just spend the time doing whatever they like. It may not be easy, but such breaks have to be worked out,” says Dr. Lakshmi.

Counselling by a professional to sort out those mixed emotions could prove to be of immense help to the caregiver. And while handling difficult situations, take deep breaths to calm down, suggest experts.

Recognition

The caregiver could be a parent, spouse, sibling, relative or a friend. But no matter who, they are nothing short of heroes. “We tend to lavish all our attention on the patient. We should take time to recognise the caregiver too,” says R. Parthasarathy, general physician and social activist. “We see so many caregivers take care of sick family members or even friends for years, without expectation and with total acceptance. They deserve to be honoured,” says P. Karpagavalli, coordinator, clinical services and case manager, Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), which has instituted the SCARF-Maitri awards (SCARF) for caregivers.

Here’s the story of courage of one of the awardees — Shamshad Begum. Of her four sons, two have schizophrenia. Her husband was mentally ill, committed suicide earlier. Her two other sons have been a pillar of support though, and have decided not to marry until they have made provision for their brothers.

“Shamshad is an inspiration. Despite the trauma, she tirelessly supports her sons. She never loses hope in them and is so proud even at the smallest things the boys achieve,” says Dr. Mangala.

Are you a caregiver?

* De-stress through meditation and regular exercise.

* Set aside time to pursue activities you enjoy.

* Stay in touch with friends and colleagues.

* Network with support groups and share your experiences and ideas.

* Vent your feelings to persons close to you. If agitated, seek psychiatric counselling.

* Establish a supportive network of family and friends who would be willing to help, whenever you need it.

* Hire trustworthy part-time attendants or avail daycare facilities occasionally.

* Plan your finances.

* Stay informed about the disease and the treatment, to deal with the situation better.

* Don’t feel guilty, ashamed or upset about the challenging behaviour of your ward.

* Investigate whether any specific medical problem is causing it.

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