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When you’re caring for someone who is sick or elderly, there’s a certain level of stress that comes with the job. Here are five ways to lighten your load and reduce the risk of burnout:
Seek out information. VNSNY clinicians are experts who can provide tips and offer in-home care techniques, from moving the one you love safely to getting a reluctant patient to take his or her medications. Visit disease-specific websites, such as www.alz.org (the Alzheimer’s Association), www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society) and www.diabetes.org for information that can help you manage symptoms and treatments.
Get support. Caregiver support groups allow you to connect with others who share your issues and concerns. Ask a VNSNY social worker to help you find a group in your local community, or get information about local support groups from the New York State Office of the Aging at www.aging.ny.gov/NYSOFA/Programs/CaregiverSVCS/NYHomeCaregivers.cfmt.
Solicit help. Caregiving is demanding! Assistance from friends, family and professional home health aides is invaluable. Don’t be shy or feel guilty about asking for—or accepting—help.
Make your getaway. Once you have help you can trust, take advantage of it by scheduling a little "me" time. For information on respite care—short-term relief from caregiving provided by home health aides—call Partners in Care, an affiliate of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, at 1-888-943-8435, or go to www.partnersincareny.org/contact-us.
Take care of yourself. Most of all, the one you love needs a happy, healthy caregiver, so take steps to stay strong physically and mentally. Eat right and excercise, keep any doctor's appointments you make for yourself, and continue to devote time to your hobbies and friends.
For more information, please call VNSNY at 1-800-675-0391 or check out these helpful VNSNY resources:
Avoiding Caregiver Burnout - www.vnsny.org/home-health-care-and-you/quick-tips/avoiding-caregiver-burnout
Caring For Yourself - www.vnsny.org/home-health-care-and-you/planning/caring-for-yourself
Caregivers Unite - blogs.vnsny.org/2010/03/17/caregivers-unite
Caregivers - Take Good Care of Yourself - blogs.vnsny.org/2010/07/12/caregivers-take-good-care-of-yourself
How to Relieve Stress When Caring for an Aging Parent or Spouse -www.vnsny.org/home-health-care-and-you/education/how-to-videos
To find out how VNSNY can care for your family member, please call 1-800-675-0390.