There’s a nice article in the current issue of Scientific American Mind magazine focuses on caregiving.
The author notes that “experts emphasize four key elements for managing the stress and maximizing the rewards of caregiving”:
Mastery: Learn as much as possible about the disorder you are dealing with.
Coping strategies: Turn to advocacy and support groups, counselors and therapists to learn specific skills such as how to develop a more positive view of a loved one’s behavior and how to think about one’s own journey as a caregiver. Learn to focus on good care for your relative rather than making the person happy, which is often an impossible job.
Social support: Set aside any notion that you should be able to handle the responsibilities on your own. Reach out to family, friends, religious organizations, volunteer organizations and illness-specific support groups for sympathy, for humor and for hands-on help.
Stress reduction: Do exercise and do use respite programs. Also, try mindfulness training.
Here’s a link to the Scientific American Mind website; you can pay about $7 to obtain the article.
Scientific American Mind, Vol. 27, Issue 6
by Francine Russo