5 Survival Tips for Northern Michigan Caregivers
Michigan is like almost every other state in the country when it comes to growth in the senior population. An estimated 12.3% of Michigan residents are aged 65 or older. One million informal caregivers (family or friends) provide assistance to them on a daily or weekly basis. That adds up to $9 billion a year in unreimbursed care.
In recognition of the support these family and friends provide, we wanted to share a few caregiver survival reminders during National Family Caregiver Month:
- Acknowledge that you have limitations. No one can do it all without having a health crisis of their own. It is widely accepted in the health care community that caregiver’s often develop more illnesses and chronic conditions than their peers. According to a recent Gallup survey, caregivers are 63% more likely to have high blood pressure and 61% more likely to suffer from back pain.
- Accept Help. Caregivers often feel they have to go it alone. Even when help is offered, they decline. If you go in to caregiving accepting that you will need help, the process will go more smoothly for everyone.
- Utilize Informal or Formal Respite Care. It may be a friendly visitor from your church who visits them one day a week so you have time to attend to your own needs or that you hire an in-home caregiver a few hours a week. Whatever route you choose, know that it will keep you healthier in the long run.
- Relax Your Standards a Little. You may need to accept that you will no longer have a perfectly made bed each morning or hardwood floors that shine. Decide what is most important to you and write that down. Keep that list handy so you can remind yourself of it when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Know your resources. Your local agency on aging can be a great resource for you. The staff there will know what programs and services would be available to help care for your loved one. It might be funding that helps provide inexpensive yard service for seniors or a list of adult day programs that offer reasonably priced services. Get to know the staff at your local office.
Are you a family caregiver?
What is the toughest part of your role?