Serving Others: 3 Tips For Caregivers

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today through service to the community has become a wonderful tradition. Many families set aside this day to work together on a specific project or with a group of individuals in their community.
At Gwinnett Medical Center, we have noticed that many people set aside more than one day in service to others – they work day after day caring for family and friends who are recovering from stroke, accident or a serious illness. For these caregivers every day is a day of service in the spirit of Dr. King.  

These caregivers give up their time to escort friends and family to appointments, hold their hands in the waiting room, support them after surgery, prepare meals to feed the family back at home, and cheer patients on as they recover.
When you’re giving care like this, often it’s easier to identify what to do than it is what to say. 
Whether you’re caring for an elderly parent, a sick child, your spouse or just visiting a friend who’s in the midst of a long recovery, here are some tips to help you be a terrific caregiver:
·         When you notice improvements, speak up! Tell the person you’ve noticed they’re able to sit up or speak or move easier than the last time you saw them.
·         Stay upbeat. It’s easy for a patient, especially someone in a long recovery process, to get discouraged.
·         Don’t go it alone. You may be a super-caregiver but you are not super human. Ask for help from others and give yourself permission to take breaks from caregiving.
Thanks to all the families out there who are devoting today to service, and thanks to all the caregivers out there for whom one day simply isn’t enough.

For information on community resources that may be of help as caregivers work with friends and families to make decisions about finances, housing and medical care, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/glancyrehab and click on the links in the Quick Links box. Many of the resources listed in the Community Resource List and the Life After Stroke: Community Resources are applicable to many situations.

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