When Caregivers Need Some Care: 8 Advantages of Caregiver Support Groups A Guest Post by David Beeshaw

Meeting Of Support Group

 

As a caregiver, you may be focused on looking after your loved one rather than looking after yourself. This can easily backfire, as you end up suffering both mentally and physically. If you start feeling lonely, depressed or extremely tired, a support group might be the best way to solve the situation. Here are seven advantages of attending one.

  1. They stop you feeling lonely

If you spend most of your time in the house and looking after just one person, you can start to feel isolated from the rest of society. You may feel as though the world is going on without you, and it’s easy to lose touch with your old friends when you are too busy to see them. Especially if you are working from home at the same time, loneliness can be a real issue. A support group will change all of that. You can feel like you are part of an extended family when you meet with other caregivers.

  1. You can gain more knowledge

What should you do when this happens? How can you cope with that? What’s the best thing to do in those situations? Other caregivers may well have experienced difficulties before you do, and can help you to understand how to deal with them. This knowledge will help you to be a better caregiver and reduce the stress on your shoulders.

  1. You can talk openly

You might never know how much stress you could release by talking until you do it. You might feel guilty about complaining or sharing negative thoughts, but a support group is a safe place to do this. Once you let those feelings out, you might be surprised to find that they don’t seem as serious as they did inside your head.

  1. They help normalise you

You may feel like you are the only person in the world dealing with your situation. Join a support group, however, and you will soon find that a lot of people are going through the same things that you are. They have the same doubts and fears, the same weird moments, and the same difficulties. Learning that what you are dealing with is normal will help immensely with your mental health.

  1. They put you in control

If you feel like being a caregiver is running your whole life, you may also feel powerless and out of control. Going to a caregiver support group will help you to understand that you are still in control of your whole life. Speaking to others will empower you.

  1. They help you cope

When times get tough, you may feel like giving up or curling up in a ball until it all goes away. The strategies that you learn, and the support you receive, from your group will help to improve your coping skills. You won’t feel that the situation is so bleak.

  1. They can raise your spirits

Caregivers often struggle with negative feelings. Distress, anxiety, and even depression can be common. You’ll be surprised at just how much your emotions can lift after attending a support group consisting of people who know your fears well and often experience them as well. Even if all you do is talk about your feelings, you’ll leave the meeting feeling lighter.

  1. You can explore treatment options

A support group will help to explore and discover new treatment options, as well as optimizing the ones you are currently using. Ultimately, this may mean that you can keep your loved one at home for longer and improve their quality of life, which is a goal that anyone would be happy to work towards.

Being a caregiver is hard, and no one expects you to bear that burden alone. Make time for a support group and you’ll see what a difference it can make.

 

About the author:

David Beeshaw is a health expert and a staunch supporter of safe sex who is currently supporting  raTrust.                                                                                                                               Feel free to verify raTrust on DirectorStats’ http://www.directorstats.co.uk/

raTrust, are experts in the field of STI and HIV prevention, David might often be found online, sharing his tips and suggestions for leading a healthy lifestyle.

Cardinal Tips For Caregivers of Senior HIV Patients A Guest Post by David Beeshaw

Elderly woman and young female caregiver at home

In 2014, people aged 55+ accounted for 17% of Americans living with a diagnosed HIV infection.

Even if this age group has the same risk factors as young people, they might be less aware of them – especially since most awareness campaigns don’t target older adults. Most of the time, they don’t think HIV is an issue for them and may be less likely to protect themselves. That’s why it’s older Americans that are most likely to learn about their HIV infection later in the course of their disease.  As a result, they start the treatment late and might suffer from more damage to their immune system.

These are the basic facts every caregiver should know before starting to provide care for senior patients with a diagnosed HIV infection.

However, that’s not everything. Here are 4 critical tips for caregivers of senior HIV patients.

Be aware of the stigma

Patients diagnosed with HIV often face social stigma and might be suffering from lack of support from others in their circle of family and friends who in turn might lack knowledge about HIV. Older people might already feel isolated because of their illness or loss of friends and family.

Social stigma might affect their self-image and quality of life. It often discourages these patients from seeking care or disclosing their status to others. Adults diagnosed with HIV are 5 times more likely to experience depression and be at risk of suicide than HIV-negative adults.

HIV and aging

Aging with HIV infection is challenging because the disease increases the risks that come with aging: particular cancers, thin bones, or cardiovascular disease.

That’s why care providers should make sure to maximize their efforts to prevent these conditions and look for signs of illness early on. Caregivers should also pay attention to the potential interactions between medication used to treat HIV and those used by the patient to treat common age-related conditions such as obesity, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, or hypertension.

Antiretroviral treatment allows patients diagnosed with HIV to achieve a near-normal life expectancy. However, senior patients are more vulnerable to infections and illnesses because of their age. Caregivers should minimize their exposure to common illnesses such as the flu that could bring about complications (like pneumonia) for patients with a compromised immune system.

Research the disease

Caregivers should educate themselves about HIV and AIDS. Knowing how the HIV infection is spread is a helpful measure against social stigma. Caregivers should also know how an HIV infection develops and when it might lead to the patient developing AIDS. Being aware of what different treatment regimens entail is helpful as well.

Follow these rules while providing care

Caregivers who provide care to senior patients diagnosed with HIV should know how the infection is spread and what they can do to prevent it.

Here are some tips on how to prevent the spread of HIV infection while taking care of a diagnosed patient:

  • Always wear vinyl or latex gloves if you might have contact with bodily fluids or blood from a person infected with HIV. Wear such gloves when cleaning articles soiled with vomit, feces or urine to avoid infection with other germs. Remember to wash your hands after any contact with blood, even if you wore gloves.
  • Flush all liquid waste that contains the patient’s blood down the toilet.
  • Items that aren’t flushable (sanitary pads, paper towels, wound dressings) need to be placed in a plastic bag. Close the bag securely before throwing it out. Remember to check in with your local health department about the disposal of such items.
  • Cover all breaks, cuts or sores in your exposed skin.
  • Wash all clothing and linens together – those worn by the patient don’t need to be separated.
  • Dishes used by the patient don’t need to be separated and can be cleaned using regular methods.
  • Be positive!

Follow these 4 tips and you’ll be on your way to providing top-quality care to a senior patient who has been diagnosed with an HIV infection.

Author’s Bio:

David Beeshaw is a staunch advocate of regular exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. He is also a writer at raTrust, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those at risk of STIs and HIV. Verify raTrust on BizDb.