Family-caregivers who look after a loved one with a brain injury have a daunting task. The care is emotionally and physically draining, and improvement (if any) is often slight. The most important concept for caregivers is to take care of yourself. A formula that works is represented by the acronym: RESPITE.
R is for rest and relaxation. Caregivers need to focus on opportunities to rest and relax in order to stay fresh and in a positive state of mind. Your loved one needs love and support, which is best delivered when you are rested and in a positive state of mind.
E stands for energize, which means the caregiver should find ways to “reboot” and stay high energy.
S means sleep. Getting good, uninterrupted sleep is critically important. But, it can be difficult to achieve. Here are some tips: Make your bedroom a comfort zone where distractions are minimized. A bedroom should not have a TV, and the bed needs a firm mattress.
P is for programs that can help you. Find day programs that provide therapeutic benefits to you and your brain-injured loved one.
I is for imagination. Think creatively. Find daily programs that spark creative juices and make the care-giving of your loved one fun and fresh, plus find opportunities to out-source care so you (as the caregiver) can have a respite.
T is for take-five. This means the caregiver needs to take a break and pamper herself in order to be fresh in order to take the laboring oar in caring for her loved one.
E is for exhale. This means to take a deep breath and relax. Taking care of a brain-injured loved one is an exhausting task, both emotionally and physically, Find ways to release the stress and recover. It might be as simple as a nice dinned once a week with friends, great a wonderful main dish and a yummy dessert, supplemented by a delicious wine, correctly paired with the meal. Oh, and you can make it super-special by enjoyed a wonderful dessert, such as apple pie with ice cream or a chocolate sundae. And, the dessert goes well with a decaffeinated coffee, tea or cappuccino. Yummy!
Family-Caregiver Month is upon us, and here are tips to help your caregiver find respite and relief.
This piece is organized around the acronym: RESPITE.
By Synapse House Member Chris Z.
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