by Melissa Thomas
A caregiver is a family member or a paid helper who regularly looks after a child or sick, elderly or disabled person. Being a caregiver is a time consuming, rewarding, fast paced, and emotional journey. That is why it is so important for the caregiver to know how to take care of themselves. Thankfully, there are conferences like the Family Caregiver Conference to provide guidance and useful information on how to care for the caregiver.
Thursday August 27th found Roxanne Pals, a registered nurse and a certified change management practitioner, directing the Family Caregiver Conference at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City. Approximately 75 people attended the afternoon session which ran from 2:00-4:00 pm, and 45 attended the evening session which ran from 5:30-7:30.
One tool used to measure a person’s resilience abilities focused on four areas; body, emotions, mind and spirit. If three or less boxes were checked next to the questions asked, one’s resilience was excellent. 10 or more boxes checked showed signs of significant resilience deficit.
Roxanne recommended practicing relaxation techniques, as being a caregiver to a loved one can be very stressful. Using breathing and meditation techniques can help to calm a person down and help to reframe thinking.
Shirley Stevens, Chronic Disease Prevention nurse felt the program was well worth attending. “Roxanne is an excellent speaker with many useful tips.” Ginger Hood, Caregiver Group Support Facilitator seconded Shirley’s sentiments. “I especially enjoyed how she explained compassion fatigue, which means short of burnout. I see that many times within our support groups.”
Another good technique to practice is writing down three good things that happen each day for a week. As yourself, “Why did this good thing happen?” “What does this mean to me?” and “How can I have more of this good thing in the future?” Journaling is also a way to privately express and record your feelings. Let go and explore your very deepest emotions and thoughts. Releasing feeling and emotions through writing is a way to convey our thoughts and learn to let them go.