How to manage the busy life of a caregiver

Being a working caregiver can feel like life is a non-stop treadmill, combining employment responsibilities with family tasks, and trying to find a balance somewhere in between. Invariably, the caregiver's needs get pushed aside, resulting in numerous problems that can adversely affect the caregiver's health, both physically and emotionally. Caregiver stress can manifest itself in several ways, but there are steps that caregivers can take to alleviate the pressure and to re-establish control over their own lives, according to AARP.org.

3 Discuss caregiving needs with employers and supervisors, while reassuring employers that work remains a top priority.

3 Resist the urge to become isolated. Seek support both in and out of work. Attend support groups and workshops, and take advantage of available resources.

3 When help is offered, by friends or family, don't be too proud or stubborn to accept it. It is easier to take assistance when it is offered than to wait until options are limited.

3 Attend to your own needs. Try to get adequate sleep. Eat sensibly, avoid alcohol, and exercise regularly. When convenient, exercise with a friend, for a double bonus of social interaction and physical activity.

3 Keep informed of caregiver rights. Discuss with human resources what caregivers are entitled to under the law. The Family Medical Leave Act requires large employers to provide up to twelve weeks of unpaid time off when providing care for a sick parent, without risk of losing employment.

3 Discuss flexible-work options with employers. Some may permit modifying schedules to accommodate family needs, on a case-by-case basis. Consult the Employee Assistance Program for information on stress management.

3 Build and nurture a support system at work, and take time to express appreciation to co-workers who have pitched in or taken on extra assignments.

For more information, contact the Caregiver Resource Center of Behavioral Health Services North at 565-4543 or 565-4625.

The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620.

• This week's information courtesy of the Caregiver Resource Center of Behavioral Health Services North.

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