November is National Family Caregivers Month, billed as a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country and to raise awareness of caregiving issues, educate communities, and increase support for caregivers.
The USC Family Caregiver Support Center is marking the month by providing a series of Caregiver Life Hacks. These tips are being shared on social media over the course of November.
“Our caregiver life hacks are a distillation of wisdom that we have heard from thousands of caregivers over decades, said Donna Benton, director of the USC Family Caregiver Resource Center. “We noticed that whenever someone says them, we see head nods and hear audible agreement.”
1. Take some time out of your day to plan a coffee date with a friend
Schedule in some me time, whether that means going to a nearby coffee shop or chatting on the phone. Spend some time catching up with a friend!
2. Music can bring you & your loved one closer.
A simple way to connect and bond with your loved one(s) is through the joy of music. Put on your favorite song and sing along!
3. Seek out & talk to other caregivers
You are not alone in your caregiver journey. Reach out to other fellow caregivers and support groups to share your experiences.
4. Physical activity helps our mental state.
Physical activity improves cognitive health by helping you think, learn, problem-solve, and enjoy an emotional balance. It can also improve memory and reduce anxiety and depression.
5. Join a caregiver support group
Share your caregiver journey and experiences while connecting with other caregivers! Find family caregiver support groups at the USC Family Caregiver Support Center/LACRC.
6. Practice deep breathing during difficult moments
When you feel overwhelmed, remember to practice deep breathing and recenter yourself. Calming breathing can be beneficial in reducing stress, anxiety, and panic.
7. Hobbies provide a creative outlet
Choose a hobby that interests you and will help you maintain your identity outside of being a family caregiver.
8. Search YouTube for meditation or guided imagery exercises.
9. Try journaling about what you are grateful for.
Journaling can help you track goals and progress, reduce stress, and find inspiration.
“The journey caregivers embark on requires stamina,” said Benton. “The USC FCSC wants to help caregivers reach their destination and still have some reserves.”