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Finding The Rewards In Caregiving

By Sheryl Leary
(Page 2 of 2)

Caregivers can also come up with a list of activities that they can do to relieve stress, or take care of themselves. Posting this list on the refrigerator or in a highly visible area may be the reminder the caregiver needs to care for herself. This list should have a minimum of five activities on it.  Some of the activities on this list can be big ticket activities such as going for a hike in the woods or a weekend away. However, these activities often require a significant amount of planning and are therefore not always available in the moment a caregiver needs it. Other activities on the list need to be things a caregiver can do in the moment, such as say a prayer, make a cup of tea, listen to music. Having small, easy to manage activities and activities on a grander scale will remind the caregiver of his or her options when feeling stress.
When a caregiver cannot do the things mentioned in this article, such as remember their why, find something small to hope for and put an action plan in place, or develop coping mechanisms for the day to day, it is definitely time to bring in outside help. This help may come in the form of care provided through a respite program, emotional support for the caregiver such as a support group, help through clergy, friends and neighbors and more. There is help for caregivers, but it is often up to the caregiver to recognize when the need is there.
Making use of these programs and informal sources of support can sometimes be the key for the caregiver to start unlocking their reward. Finding the caregiving reward is not always easy. These are some suggestions for caregivers to explore their caregiving so they can feel that reward within themselves. Feeling that reward while you are in the midst of caregiving is a gift. It is a gift that may help renew that caregiving spirit, help a caregiver to better understand the role she has and appreciate that role. It is the one gift caregivers can give themselves, never return, never regift – it is their reward.


Sheryl Leary is the Family Caregiver Specialist for HESSCO Elder Services in Sharon, MA. In this role, she provides individual consultations for caregivers as well as educational programming for the community as a whole. Throughout her career, Sheryl has maintained a focus on caregiver issues and alleviating caregiver stress.


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