Being a caregiver is one of the most challenging roles a person can experience. Caregivers are people from all walks of life; they are spouses, parents, children, friends and siblings who have a special bond with their loved one. If you are a caregiver, you are not alone. A joint study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP found that an estimated 43.5 million Americans age 18 or older are providing care to an adult.*
*2015 National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP
Many new issues arise when a person is diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma. Caregivers devote tremendous time and energy into meeting these new challenges in an effort to care for and improve their loved ones' lives, while trying to balance their own needs and responsibilities. Caregivers are special people with overwhelming responsibilities. We offer the following suggestions to help caregivers take care of themselves:
- Take care of your own physical and mental health needs. You've probably heard this before, ”You can't take care of someone else if you don't take care of yourself.” Be aware of your stress levels, take breaks, exercise, and talk to a friend. Only you know what works best for you.
- Ask for help! We all have our limitations, be aware of your strengths and abilities. When people offer to help, accept the offer – caregiving is definitely more than a one person job.
- Be flexible. You will encounter situations where you may have to re-evaluate your needs and priorities. Things you did in the past may have to be looked at in new ways and new strategies developed to help you accomplish your tasks and manage your new responsibilities.
- Educate yourself about your loved one's condition. This will help you better communicate with medical health professionals and other health care providers about treatment and care.
- Seek resources. Ask yourself, ”What people/organizations/information will make my caregiving easier/better?” Be specific and selective about the resources you need. See Caregivers Resources for useful tools for caregivers to utilize in finding additional information and support.