There are roughly 65 million people in this country serving as caregivers either to an aging adult, a family member with a debilitating diagnosis, or an adult with disabilities. Of this roughly 20% of the population, many are also caretakers of minors in their homes, are trying to earn a living for their families, and are carrying a multitude of other responsibilities that frankly can be exhausting. To strengthen the person who supports the one battling the illness, is to strengthen the team. This may involve learning new strategies or receiving support from other resources.
I’d like to illustrate this point with a visual analogy for you. Imagine holding a glass of water in your hand with your arm fully extended out to your side.
Your body is designed to be able to do this for a short time before you start to feel the strain. If you were expected to be able to do this beyond half an hour, you would probably start to find creative ways to compensate. Perhaps you would start to lean your hand on a wall, or ask a friendly face to help you support your arm. Yet imagine if you were asked to do this for hours, days, months or more. You would need to develop a whole new skill set.
You would have to learn about efficient ways to manage your load, where and how to get help when you need it, and how to manage the inevitable effects this challenge has on you. The same can be said of the caregiving journey. Our bodies are designed to deal with high stress in sprints. When we enter into this new arena, we often need to develop new strategies that enable us to survive during a “marathon” of stress. Some things will be out of your control, but how you choose to run this race is up to you.
We want to run beside you, supporting and encouraging you, as you are on your journey. Although Caregiver Appreciation Month is not until November, nbmtLINK wants to start the celebration early by honoring these sometimes-forgotten heroes. Mark your calendars for September 26th, October 3rd and 10th. We have designed a series just for you – to feed your soul, to offer you expert advice, and to help you navigate through the maze of caregiving. There is something for everybody at all stages of caring. In addition, anyone who calls the LINK or emails us through November will be able to receive one free copy of our caregiver book. So treat yourself today by calling us at 1-800-LINK-BMT or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your gift. You also can go to our website or email us to register for this great series. Let us provide a refreshing boost to you as you run your “marathon.”