Page 7 - Scene Magazine 4501 January 2020
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ervqualification but it is based on the income of the loved one, not the caregivers. For more details on each of these programs pick up a copy of the Senior Housing Directory found at all else, it is important to be aware of, and to take steps to prevent, caregiver burnout. Male or female, the more a caregiver can also focus on self- care, the better the care they can give to their loved one. It’s important to take time to recharge the batteries by doing things for themselves.As a caregiver, I invite you to consider what you enjoy doing and what helpsyou to be as healthy as possible. Those things are important to the long-term care of both your loved one as well as you. Maybe you like to cook. Then choose healthy foods and prepare them in a way that both you and your loved one will enjoy. It’s OK to also use area services like Meals on Wheels so your loved one gets the nutrition she needs and you get a well-deserved break.Exercise and movement is goodfor you in so many ways, including the prevention of chronic conditions that you might become at risk for. It might also be possible to include your loved one in your exercise routine. If they are wheelchair bound, you can push them along your path. If they are walking, have them walkwith you if appropriate. Get outside when possible; the fresh air will do both of you some good. Or it might be an appropriate time to enlist the help of family, friends, or neighbors. Ask them to sit with your loved one while you take a walk, go for a bike ride, play a round of golf, or hit the gym.Maybe your break is used for reading, gardening, working on an antique car, or going to the movies. Whatever it is that you choose, you need to get away from your caregiving responsibilities and focus on you on a regular basis. This will allow you to maintain the energy needed to continue as a successful caregiver. Plan your breaks in the schedule so it also becomes a task that you can mark off.While it may seem unusual, one of the most challenging obstacles men face as caregivers is the perception that all care- givers are women. Employers in particular will hesitate when men request time off to take care of their caregiving duties. They must be persistent in their desire to be taken seriously. I suspect that over time these instances will decrease as the care- giving role of men becomes more visible.Supporting the caregiver is valuable for both men and women. Not surprisingly, the hours of work goes unseen by most and consequently is often underappre- ciated. Furthermore, as men take on the challenge slightly different than women,it can be seen as task-oriented only and coworkers, family, and friends miss the underlying stress they are experiencing. They will seek out what they consider to be practical solutions, including technol- ogy, and as a result do not seek out, or may even avoid, necessary emotional support. Research shows that mencan benefit from increased comfort and insight. The tendency to avoid emotional support can result in depression. Interest- ingly enough, depression for men seems to be highest when they place their wife with dementia into a nursing home.The bottom line is that we all need more family caregivers to step up to the plate to help meet the needs of loved ones. Do what you can to support them. Ask them if they are getting the breaks or planned respite that they need. Ask them if you can help and if they don’t know what to ask for make suggestions about what you can do. Drop by a meal from time to time. Pick up the mail. Pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy. Stop in and offer to let them go out. Sometimes just doing something is easier than them having to come up with an idea for you.Finally, if you have taken on the role as a caregiver and you do not have family and friends to help share the burden reach out to any of local agencies listed or visit IN BUSINESS I SCENE 4501 7

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