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.

Seeking Relief

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.

Another Perspective

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.

Self-Care

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.

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Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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