Spirituality for senior care caregivers

Spirituality means different things to each of us.

Finding what works for you can make a big difference for you and the person you are caring for.

Health Canada tells us  that most Canadian family caregivers assume their responsibilities in a typically Canuck way. They just get on with it, positive about their ability to do what they have to do to help a beloved family member, neighbour or friend. However, along with the satisfaction that comes from knowing that they are making a very real contribution to the well-being of the person they are caring for, there is sometimes a feeling of being overwhelmed.

The Mayo Clinic describes spirituality this way: “Spirituality has many definitions, but at its core spirituality helps to give our lives context. It’s not necessarily connected to a specific belief system or even religious worship. Instead, it arises from your connection with yourself and with others, the development of your personal value system, and your search for meaning in life. Spirituality can be found in nature, music, art or a secular community. Spirituality is different for everyone. It has many benefits for stress relief and overall mental health.”

Practical spirituality for caregivers:

Pray for others if you are religious.

Professor Neal Kraus at the University of Wisconsin studied 1500 older Americans experiencing financial stress (common among family caregivers). The results showed that praying for the benefit of others reduced the negative health impact of their stress by about half. – Caregiver’s Home Companion

Meet your own needs.

It’s important to recognize that you have needs too. Balanced and adequate nutrition, hydration, moderate daily exercise, reasonable rest, regular opportunities for socialization, personal space,…all basic health needs. There is nothing wrong with needing some time alone – call it time for spirituality if you like. Find someone or hire a caregiver or companion through a professional service, to provide relief for you on a regular basis so that you can have the time to yourself that you need.

Focus on what you are able to provide. Expand your support network.

Whether you find spirituality in a church, mosque or synagogue, in your family, or in walks with a friend through nature, the sharing of spiritual expression can help build relationships and split the load you’re carrying. Mayo Clinic

Focus on a sense of purpose.

By clarifying what’s most important in your life, spirituality may help you focus less on the unimportant things and relieve stress. Mayo Clinic

By taking the time you need for yourself, you’ll maintain your own health and energy and you’ll be better able to provide the care you want to provide. Learn more about how to find the home care service that is right for you.

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