Care for the Caregiver
As a caregiver, it can be hard to focus on your own needs when you are caring for a hospice patient. If you share caregiving duties, the stress of caregiving may create tensions among family and friends, even as you pull together to care for your loved one.
Taking care of yourself may seem selfish, but it is a necessity, and finding ways to replenish yourself is essential.
Here are some suggestions that may help.
- Get sleep when you can. Have someone else look after your loved one if you need to rest – or you may want to request a volunteer.
- Eat regular, balanced meals. Our volunteers can help with grocery shopping and light meal preparation.
- Maintain routines such as bathing, hair care, dental and medical appointments.
- Do some physical activity, even if it is just going for a short walk.
- Accept help from other caregivers and volunteers.
Caregiving can be isolating. It is important to keep in touch with others who are supportive of you.
- You may want to make regular phone calls to stay in touch, or you may ask your friends to call you regularly.
- You may want friends and family to visit, or you may want your space and privacy.
- Our volunteers can visit with patients, so you can take a break and get support for yourself from friends and other social networks.
When your family member is ill, you may find yourself riding the waves of an anxious and vulnerable time.
- Our social workers help patients and families cope with and adjust to the difficult challenges they are facing. We can also help with difficult conversations that patients and families may want to have, but don’t know how to start.
- Our counselors can also ease burdens by helping with practical matters, such as providing information about planning funerals and memorial services.
If you would like to talk with a counselor about thoughts, worries or concerns you may be experiencing, we are available to help.
To help people cope with spiritual distress, we offer non-denominational spiritual care, available to people of any or no faith. Our chaplains (also called pastoral counselors or spiritual counselors) help patients and families identify what is important and meaningful to them and help them find their own answers to questions they are asking.
- Even if patients and families have their own spiritual support, they may want to talk with a chaplain. Our chaplains have extensive experience helping people who are struggling with questions related to the end of life.
- Our chaplains have ties to diverse faith communities and can help patients find a spiritual support from their own tradition, if that is what they prefer.
We also respect the wishes of any patient or family member who does not want contact with a chaplain.
We are here to support you and your loved ones in ways that respect your beliefs, values, and personal needs. If you would like to talk, if you would like reassurance, or if you need support from our professionals or volunteers to give you a break from care-giving, please call us at 301 921 4400.
Resources for Caregivers
- Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers (File)
(This article appeared in our newsletter with permission of Family Caregiver Alliance / National Center on Caregiving. More information: www.caregiver.org/fact-sheets )
- Montgomery County, Maryland Caregiving Support
- AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center
- The Senior Connection provides “mobility by linking older adults to services and resources so they can live as independently as possible”
- infoMONTGOMERY: information about health, education and human service resources in Montgomery County
- Montgomery County’s Senior Services website
- Montgomery County Latino Health Initiative
- Asian American Health Initiative
Education on End of Life:
- National Institute: on Aging End of Life Helping with Comfort and Care
National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Hard Choices For Loving People
CPR, Artificial Feeding, Comfort Care,and the Patient with a Life-Threatening Illness