Stress is double for caregivers

The estimated 44 million Americans who are unpaid full-time caregivers often work around the clock for seven days a week to provide care for a seriously ill relative or friend. They are now the new population at risk for increased illness and problems related to chronic stress and fatigue.

On Thursday, members of St. Peter's Episcopal Church Caregivers Support Group took personalized stress and burn-out inventories to measure their stress levels. The results of those tests and new tests on coping styles will be the focus for this caregiver meeting at 5:30 p.m. today in the parish hall of St. Peter's Episcopal Church on north Division and Telegraph streets in Carson City.

The results of the tests will help caregivers and others to honestly identify how much the stress of caring and giving has taken it's toll on their lives. Caregivers will continue to gather personal information about their coping styles so that they can make simple, but doable stress management plans. This plan will be in place for them to survive the challenges of caregiving and also the stress that the coming holidays can bring.

Thursday's meeting is free and open to all members of the community. The caregivers support group meets the first and third Thursday of each month.

Members have already learned valuable lessons such as how to prepare "Care Plans" for their ill or disabled loved ones. Now, the caregivers will give more attention to keeping themselves healthy.

Sometimes those who care for others, and all of us, need to be reminded of the simple flight instruction wisdom which is to "Put your oxygen mask on first before attempting to help another." Simple, but do we always follow that example?

For details about caregiving, please call Dr. Deb Cash at 887-8846.


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