A few months ago, the New Old Age blog in the New York Times ran a piece called Seeing The Invisible Patient, which cites an article
in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) calling for
health care providers to be more tuned in to the caregivers of their
patients -- and to be willing to provide referrals for resources that
can help support them.
We’re all for that, but we don’t think it
should stop there. We think caregivers themselves should be more clued
in to their own needs, too.
The writer of the Times piece starts
off, “Not once in the years I cared for my mother did any of her
physicians ask me how I was doing. When was the last time I saw my own
physician? Was I eating properly? Sleeping enough? Depressed?...Frankly,
I didn’t notice their apparent lack of concern.”
caring for someone, these are some of the most basic questions you ask
about their well-being every single day. But, all too often, caregivers
are so caught up in the needs of their loved one that – when it comes to
their own health – even the basics fall by the wayside.
them at risk for caregiver distress, a real problem that can not only
impact their own health and mental state, but can also affect the person
for whom they are caring.
Just like the JAMA article suggests
that health care providers be prepared with resources for the invisible
patient, it’s important to shore up your own resources as well.
We offer a wealth of information on this very subject – in fact a whole site dedicated to it – on caregiverstress.com. You can assess your signs of stress, learn tips for stress relief, and relate with others who might be in the same boat.
There is no one-size-fits-all cure for the invisible patient, but here are some possible treatments:
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