Are you feeling worried, anxious, and exhausted? Who takes care of the caregiver? Social worker Rob Zucker, bereaved spouse and grief counselor, joined us for a discussion on our podcast about self-care during these stressful times. Rob is the author of The Journey Through Grief and Loss: Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief is Shared.
The Role of Caregiver
This is a tough time for everyone, but it’s even harder for those that take on the role of caregiver. There is even more for them to do now to help keep their loved ones safe. In taking care of someone who has a compromised immune system or other underlying condition, the caregiver also now must be the person that ventures out to get the groceries and ensure everything has been cleaned appropriately.
Rob shared his own story of how he has moved from the role of caregiver for his wife who passed away from pancreatic cancer has evolved into caregiver for his new love who is at higher risk of COVID-19 due to health issues.
And, because he has lost a loved one, Rob has the extra component of stress to make sure he can do everything in his power to not lose his new love to COVID-19. Grief manifesting itself, compounded with the extra work of being a caregiver during COVID-19, has led to a very exhausting role.
What he has been able to do and recommends to others with the same challenging role is to talk about it with your loved ones, meditate, focus on humor and music, and use gratitude as a practice. These coping strategies can provide relief when caregiving burnout strikes.
Heidi, who had contracted COVID-19, shares her perspective of going from caregiver to letting others take care of her. She knew that the role of caregiver is extremely stressful, especially as she watched her husband take on the role of errands, cooking, and more. Meanwhile, he was worried about her and keeping the house in order.
In both instances, Rob and Heidi agree that caregivers must take care of themselves. That means holding on tight to that peer support group and reaching out for emotional support and a listening ear. It’s also okay to seek assistance from others, including finding ways to lighten the load. Use a grocery delivery service, find an online tutor to help your kids, and order some meals, when possible. Take naps, stay hydrated, and get exercise.
Remember that we are in this together! We can all help each other alleviate the stress and anxiety of this situation.
Watch the podcast here:Tags: caregiver burnout during COVID-19, caregiver care, how to help a caregiver