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November, is National Caregivers Month. It’s the one day a year, set aside to acknowledge those who volunteer to care for family members, friends and neighbors who are managing health challenges and other disabilities.

Not all superheroes wear capes. Some are managing medications, organizing medical records, scheduling doctor’s appointments and some superheroes are just sharing a cup of tea. This month, Hemophilia Federation of America honors our community’s caregivers.  We recognize that you are the ones who stand in the gap when times get tough. We also know that although our caregivers typically take on the responsibility of caregiving because of love, you also need to be supported, appreciated and recognized.

We see you and we want you to know that it’s ok to need support. You do not always have to be the strong one. It is perfectly normal to feel burned out; there is help for you and yes, you deserve to support too. We know you’ve heard the phrase, “put your mask on first, before helping someone else.” Well, it’s true! You must care first for yourself, because you cannot pour from an empty cup.
This month, we’d like to equip you with several ways to care for yourself, so that you can ultimately provide the best care for your loved one.

There are several ways to equip yourself to become a better caregiver for both yourself and your loved one.

  1. Supercharge your tools
    1. Make the job easy on yourself!   There are tools available to help you in your day to day caregiving.   There are apps to manage medications, medical records and sensors to monitor family to prevent falls and report emergencies!
  2. Plan Your Backup/Ask for Help
    1. You need a backup plan! What if you have a cold? Or a dental appointment? How will you handle a sudden change of plans?  Ask for help and then, develop a backup plan. Write it down and keep it in plain sight.
  3. Self-Care
    1. Whether it be a bubble bath, a movie or a night out alone, find ways to take care of yourself.   Caregivers need care too!
  4. Recognize the Signs
    1. Depression, mental health crises and even suicide are real. Know how to access help when life seems unbearable. The National Suicide Hotline is available here: (800) 273-8255 or visit them online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

“The caregiving life can be filled with noise and chaos. When you grab even five minutes of quiet, you can tune in to those soul whispers that remind you of all the good you are doing as a family caregiver.”  – Unknown

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