Sea Girt, NJ (October, 2014) November is National Family Caregivers Month and a welcome sign to many. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Caregiving, over 65 million Americans care for sick, disabled and elderly family members and friends, saving the healthcare system $375 billion dollars annually. And while the focus remains on the person requiring care, the caregivers are often overlooked. One who is committed to spreading the message and plays an active role in getting the word out about the vital role caregivers play is The Inspiration Nurse, Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, www.donnacardillo.com, a family caregiver herself. (Cardillo’s husband has had MS for 19 years.)
Cardillo is an award-winning business woman, respected keynote speaker, writer and author, and a spokesperson for family caregivers everywhere. Cardillo states, “Caregivers often neglect their own self-care and suffer in silence. They have a high rate of stress-related illnesses and disorders, addictions, and even worse. That’s why I’m so glad the issue of how the caregivers struggle themselves is getting the attention it so rightly deserves and more focus will be on this important issue in the month of November. I’m honored to host an upcoming retreat for caregivers to provide a loving environment and support for those who give so much. And to further show my gratitude, my company is subsidizing most of the cost for this event and offering a very affordable rate so more can attend.”
The Reconnect, Refresh, Refocus: A Retreat for Caregivers takes place on November 13th in Long Branch, NJ providing a relaxing, rejuvenating day in a tranquil ocean-front setting at the beautiful Jersey Shore. It offers a break from responsibilities as well as support for caregivers in a confidential and non-judgmental and supportive environment. More information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/kqnfbed
Cardillo also writes and speaks on this topic regularly, providing the following tips for caregivers:
- Join a support group specifically for caregivers. Find groups in local newspapers or through community services and local hospitals.
- Connect online with other caregivers to have a 24/7 lifeline for communicating, support, help and advice, and to vent.
- Seek the support of a professional counselor and get regular medical check-ups.
- Partake in regular physical activity/exercise to relieve stress, maintain body strength and agility and for overall good health.
- For birthdays and holidays request gift certificates for a spa, salon, or gym to indulge in some routine maintenance for the body and spirit.
- Maintain hobbies and activities. Caregiving can rob one of their senses of joy and engagement in life. Continue to do things that offer personal fulfillment.
For caregivers, taking time for themselves is not selfish even though they often view it that way. Rather it is vital for their health and well-being. Without this “routine maintenance” for the mind, body and spirit, the stress, worry, heightened emotions, strained relationships, illness, and even loss of self-awareness and joy may occur. Attending caregiver’s support events such as this retreat and following the above tips can help alleviate health issues and provide the energy and focus needed to allow caregivers to continue to do what they do: care for others.