Roepke Public Relations
Eagan, Minn. (Nov. 8, 2007) —
November is National Caregivers Month and CaringBridge honors family caregivers who provide love and support to family and friends facing a serious health condition.
CaringBridge, one of the largest Web sites run by a nonprofit organization, connects caregivers, family and friends facing a serious medical condition, treatment and recovery. Visitors to CaringBridge sites have left over 12 million messages of support and encouragement for patients, caregivers and their families.
National Family Caregivers Month, observed every November, is a nationally recognized month that seeks to draw attention to the many challenges facing family care providers, and raise awareness about community programs that support family caregivers. It is a time to thank, support, educate and celebrate more than 50 million family caregivers across the country.
"At some point, everyone knows someone with a health crisis," said Sona Mehring, founder and executive director of CaringBridge. "Caregivers and family members tell me support is the most important piece of recovery. I encourage everyone to take time to recognize and support the selfless service of caregivers."
CaringBridge offers the following suggestions for caregivers.
Don't forget a sense of humor - Laughter is soothing to the soul. With all the heavy responsibilities and decisions a caregiver must make for a very ill loved one, comic relief is an essential component of coping. Recommend a funny movie or even an audio book of great jokes or anecdotes to a caregiver. Laughter reduces stress hormones such as: cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline and dopamine.
Ask for help when feeling overwhelmed - Caring for someone is a huge responsibility and is often more than a one person job. It is important you don't overwork yourself. Ask a friend, family member, work or church group to help you when needed. Be clear and concise when asking, and they will more than likely be happy to assist you.
Treat yourself to some time off - Caregivers, more than anyone, deserve it. Always make sure to set aside time for yourself to relax. According to the American Psychological Association, stress is linked to the six leading causes of death - heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. Smiling more, doing your favorite things, and even talking to someone are all proven methods of stress relief.
Enroll in a weekly yoga class - With all of the demands, it's easy for caregivers to lose touch with who they are, that core essence we need to keep in check. A weekly session of yoga allows you to tune into yourself, chill out and keep your body in shape. Research shows that yoga helps manage or control anxiety. Treat yourself or a caregiver you know to a series of classes during November's National Caregiver Month.
Use a grocery or meal preparation service Simple things such as grocery shopping or trying to prepare a healthy meal become challenging. Online grocers or meal preparation services allow you to shop or select meals without going to the store, freeing up time for other activities. Treat yourself or a caregiver to a service such as Simon Delivers (www.simondelivers.com) or Sociale Gourmet (www.socialegourmet.com).
Share your story with others - Create a CaringBridge Web site and share your day to day experiences. Give others in your inner circle the chance to read and contribute their advice, thoughts and well-wishes. The amount of support you receive will surprise you!
You can find out more about free personalized Web sites for caregivers and people with serious health conditions and set up a site at www.caringbridge.org.
Use support of your faith community - One powerful way of receiving support is to write a letter to your faith community asking them to pray for the person who is ill, and also for you as a caregiver.
CaringBridge is a nonprofit offering many ways for people to care for each other during any type of health event. Its mission is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier. For more information, visit www.CaringBridge.org.