Remember, healthy-minded caregivers share the work with others, know their resources, avoid isolation, and know when to ask for help. “A caregiver who has a positive attitude toward care giving will receive greater benefits and satisfaction than a caregiver who feels trapped in the caregiving role or who feels bound by duty” (Hohler, 2012). If the caregiver takes on the positive attitude that this new responsibility is something they can handle then they will grow and learn from the caregiver experience (Stewart, Streiner, Coyte, and Cheung, 2014). The study presented at the ISC also revealed that providing care for a spouse places you at an even higher risk for the development of serious health conditions because of the fact that you live with your spouse and are less likely to get a break from the caregiver role (Bitler, 2015). Although women as caregivers are at a greater risk for developing serious health conditions there are things women can do to
decrease stress, lessen the risks for development of serious health conditions and keep a positive outlook on the ‘here and now’ and the future of their loved ones. Experienced caregivers recommend that a caregiver live each day as it comes, remembering that a healthy attitude will decrease your stress level and make life a little more pleasurable (Hohler, 2012). The National Alliance for Caregiving recommends the following steps to alleviate stress and maintain a positive attitude and healthy life balance: • Ask for help from family & friends • Join a support group • Take special time for yourself to do the things you enjoy doing • If married, try to focus on the positive aspects of caregiving
• Schedule regular physical check-ups for yourself • Exercise & Meditate For more information about the Stroke Support Group at St. Joseph Regional Health Network please visit: www.thefutureofhealthcare.org/stroke-center.
REFERENCES Bitler, T. (2015). Women caregivers are more at risk. Strokesmart. Retrieved from http://www.strokesmart.org/caregiver-stress Hohler, S. (2012). Caregiver’s guide, care for yourself while you care for your loved ones. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc. Stewart, D.; Streiner, D.; Coyte, P.; & Cheung, A.; (2014). Older, active, confident stroke caregivers are happiest. Retrieved from: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/ older-active-confident-stroke-caregivers-are-happiest