As we honor our fallen military this Memorial Day weekend, we cannot forget their families and caregivers. While we’ve lost many on the field of battle, often times those that have returned also suffer greatly. Their wives, husbands, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and friends care tirelessly for and support military service men and women day in and day out. These caregivers frequently feel overlooked and often times, at the sacrifice of their own health, focus only on providing care to others.
Caring for those injured, both physically and/or psychologically, from their tour of duty can certainly be rewarding, but it can be extremely stressful as well. Nearly half of all family caregivers say they are “somewhat stressed,” and more than a third are “highly stressed,” according to the National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP “Caregiving in the United States 2015” report.
If you are a caregiver or know someone who is, here are 5 pointers to help you stay healthy and resilient …
- Remind yourself that you are doing an incredibly valuable job, one that is priceless!
- Tap into communication sites like CaringBridge.org or MyLifeline.org. These sites allow caregivers to post updates to share with caring family and friends. These outlets will help reduce the stress of communicating with everyone.
- Seek a support group to help you cope and stay strong. There are many resources through The Family Caregiver Alliance, or you can even chat online with other caregivers in the same situation on AARP’s website.
- Give yourself a break. The time and energy demands are often overwhelming. Caregiving is a 24/7 job. Set a schedule with other family or friends to pitch in and allow you to take a few hours off to exercise (go to the gym, take a walk), see a movie, go shopping, go out for a nice dinner – just have some time to yourself.
- Don’t forget to take care of your own health! Set time each day to meditate or whatever exercises you do to keep you centered. Be sure to get plenty of sleep (7-8 hours), eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water. Committing to follow The Power of 5 Ultimate Formula principles will guide you.
Additionally, a site that provides resources to assist the military community and provide support is called: Operation We Are Here. Check out all the helpful tools they offer.
We applaud and celebrate those caregivers as they offer unconditional love and support for those they care for. Caregivers across all spectrums of care exhibit so much strength and devotion.
We send our thoughts and prayers to all who courageously fight for our country, those at home, and the families and friends of the fallen. We salute you this Memorial Day.
To a happy, healthy life,
Dr. Bernstein & Melissa