Increasing National Awareness for Caregivers
A recent article from NPR reported that the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC invited family and friend caregivers to appreciate the art around the museum to help reduce the stress of family caregivers. According to the article, there are an estimated 42 million family members and friends who are providing unpaid work to their loved ones, estimated at about 37 billion hours of unpaid work. This amount of time devoted to this type of labor is valued at $470 billion. More and more institutions, researchers, and companies are devoting time, energy, and resources at supporting family caregivers to give them the direction they need to care successfully care for their loved ones. A component of this support comes in the form of taking a break from work, whether this means visiting a museum or taking dance classes. In this blog, we want to provide some ideas that family caregivers can consider to help them keep stress at bay.
Like anything, taking a break is about managing your time. Stepping away from responsibilities is not irresponsible if done in a thoughtful and structured way. We encourage you to think about your schedule and choose a day or two out of the week where you can devote a set amount of time to focusing on yourself, whether it is through relaxation or visiting friends for drinks. Below, we will provide some thoughts what activities you can do.
Some Activities to Consider
Sign up for classes: By classes, we mean any class that would be interesting for you. For example, if you’ve always wanted to learn to dance or if you want to sign up for acting lessons, then you should see if you can incorporate this into your schedule. Signing up for a class does not need to be a huge time investment, it could amount to 3 to 6 hours a week. The benefit to this is that you can perform a mentally engaging activity that will give you something to look forward to on a regular basis.
Relax: Relaxing can take many forms. You could literally set aside some time where you do absolutely nothing, you could incorporate meditation practices, you could read a good book, or you can even begin exercising. The point of relaxation is to reduce stress, and different people have different ways of relieving stress. Just be sure the activity is safe, healthy, and will help you come back feeling rejuvenated as a caregiver.
Connect with Friends: Friends are important for your health. Socializing can help caregivers improve their emotional and mental health. Being able to spend quality time with someone you care about can be relaxing and give you a sense of security, because you are reassured that there are people there who you can rely on and count on. Do not hesitate to pick up your phone and meet your friends out for lunch or for a movie.
If you have any more questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.
 Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/27/606054065/family-caregivers-finally-get-a-break-and-some-coaching