Caring for the Caregiver

More than 65.7 million Americans are caregivers. In any given week, they dedicate more than 20 hours to tasks ranging from assisting with activities of daily living and administering medicine to preparing meals to doing laundry.

Exhaustion from juggling several roles at once, frustration from not being able to fulfill all the needs of their loved one, and guilt due to feeling angry or losing patience are common stressors faced by caregivers.

“The life of a caregiver is unpredictable. You never know when you will have to drop what you are doing to take care of a loved one. It’s difficult to schedule anything from appointments to social get-togethers,” says Kerri Sherer, Christian Health Care Adult Day Services Social Worker. “It’s also upsetting when family members or friends offer unsolicited advice on how you can do things better.”

Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) is dedicated to caring for the caregiver by providing education, support, and a shoulder to lean on.

“In adhering to our Person- and Family-centered Care model, CHCC is just as committed to caregivers’ health, healing, and wellness as it is to that of those entrusted to our care,” says Teresa DeLellis, LSW, Long-term Care Social Work Director. “Caregivers need to take care of themselves first and foremost. You can’t be an effective caregiver if you aren’t healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Caregivers may also benefit from asking for help; relieving stress through breathing techniques, meditation, and/or exercise; taking five-minute breaks whenever feasible; maintaining a sense of humor; and joining a support group. For caregivers’ convenience, CHCC sponsors four support groups, at no cost. Registration is required.

  • Noon first Tuesdays, Building 1 Conference Room, (201) 848-5830
  • 1 p.m. first Wednesdays, Christian Health Care Adult Day Services of Wayne, 2000 Siena Village (off Valley Road, Wayne), (973) 305-9155 (This group is specifically for caregivers of individuals with dementia.)
  • 10 a.m. second Fridays, Commons Conference Room, (201) 848-5867
  • 5:30 p.m. third Wednesdays, Commons Conference Room, (201) 848-5867

“Our support groups provide an opportunity for caregivers to share and validate feelings,” Ms. DeLellis says. “Caregivers can see the common thread of what they are all experiencing.”

Mrs. Scherer and Ms. DeLellis present a free “Caring for the Caregiver” workshop for community organizations. For more information, email khockstein@chccnj.org or call (201) 848-4463jj.

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