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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Caregivers New Year's Resolution

by Kristine Dwyer, LSW

In this new year, I will……….

Learn to take one hour out of each day just for myself to read, enjoy a hot bath, journal my thoughts or call a friend.

Attend at least one caregiver support group to realize that I am not alone and that I can learn from others.

See my doctor for a physical exam and give my own health needs more priority.

Use respite care at least once a month so that I may get a break and be refreshed. I will consider using the time I have to discover the benefits of massage therapy, the joy of a musical concert, self expression in a painting class or a day at the spa to find stress relief.

Eat a balanced diet and exercise at least 20 minutes three times a week even if all I can do is walk around the house, up and down the stairs or exercise from a chair.

Seek out one new resource to support my caregiver role such as chore services, housekeeping, home care programs or delivered meals.

Try to find a way to laugh or find humor in the day amidst the sadness or discouragement I may feel.

Reach out to my family and friends to help with my loved one so that the weight of my responsibility can be lifted and shared. One way I can do this is to keep a list of needs handy so that when help is offered, I can be ready with an answer.

Seek spiritual support or personal counseling to gain perspective of my life, clarity of my role and keep my mental health in check.

Finally, by focusing on these resolutions, I will be able to reap the rewards of caregiving, maintain balance in my life and provide care longer for my loved one.

Kristine Dwyer is a Caregiver Consultant for Carlton County Public Health and Human Services in Cloquet, Minnesota. She is a licensed social worker certified in gerontology and is a past and current caregiver for her family.

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