Do you think that Long Term Care, Recuperative Care or Eldercare issues will never touch you or your family?   They will!   Recent statistics show that you either will become the care giver for a loved one or you will be the recipient of care.   The harsh reality is that 95% of all care givers are children with jobs and lives that become dramatically affected.

Caring for an impaired or elderly person can create physical, financial, environmental, and emotional stress.  Care givers must be aware of the stress caused by these conflicting emotions to guard against becoming physically and emotionally drained.   The following tips help care givers care for themselves so they can better care for their loved ones.

Acknowledge your feelings:   Your feelings have a lot to do with the way you view and cope with care giving.   All feelings are legitimate, including anger, frustration and sadness.   Recognizing and accepting your emotions is the first step toward resolving problems with stress.

Stay healthy:   Your general well being is extremely important.   Remember to eat balanced meals, exercise, get enough sleep, and allow yourself personal time.

Be informed:   Check the Internet for information on care giving.   Some hospitals and adult education programs offer care giving courses.

Join a care giver support group:   Support groups provide care givers with a forum to share their feelings in a supportive environment.   Care givers feel less isolated and can create strong bonds of mutual help and friendship.

Get a life of your own:   Do what you enjoy.  Go to a movie, play a musical instrument, or get together with friends.   It may not be easy to schedule these activities, but the rewards for having balance in your life are worth it.   Meeting your own needs will satisfy you and give you additional strength to bring to your care giving tasks.

Use respite care services:   Consider having your loved one participate in an adult daycare program where he or she can socialize with peers in a supervised setting.   This gives your care receiver a necessary break from staying home all the time.

Ask for help:   Turn to your family, friends, and neighbors for help.   Make a list of things – such as time, skills, space, and money – that family, friends, and the care receiver can contribute.   Sit down with these people and work out a plan, deciding what tasks will be performed, by whom, on which days.   Also, consider a swap with a friend who has similar care giving responsibilities.   He or she may care for both impaired individuals one day a week in exchange for you providing care on another day.

Remember that if you are a care giver to also take care of yourself.

On Monday, Joe laments what he sees as the waning greatness of our country in “What Country Do You Want To Live In?”.