On an airplane, parents are advised to put on their own oxygen masks before helping out their children with their masks. This makes perfect sense. Yet, caregivers often forget, or feel they don't have time, to take care of themselves. As caregivers pour out their lives for those they care for, they in turn need to be refreshed and refilled.
Caregivers need tools to assess their level of stress. Those of us who know caregivers need tools to be able to recognize signs of burnout. When we find ourselves under a burden too big for us to bear on our own, it's hard to know where to look for help.
The Lutheran Foundation of Ft. Wayne, Indiana has created the Look Up Indiana website as a helpful resource for you and your family. This website has great information for caregivers, including faith-based resources on mental well-being.
Here are a few of the resources among the many you will find on the Look Up Indiana website: www.lookupindiana.org
This resource by the Trauma Healing Institute was created for caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it can be used by caregivers anytime as they try to recognize sources of stress in their daily lives and discover various ways to release this stress in healthy ways. It contains a handy self-assessment tool called “How Stressed Are You?” It also contains stories, Scripture passages for reflection, activities, and discussion questions to help caregivers care for themselves.
Caregivers are prone to burnout. It's difficult to recognize the signs of burnout in ourselves without some help. This tip sheet, created by the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, provides general information about burnout, ways you may be at risk for burnout, signs you may be experiencing burnout (including spiritual signs), and what to do if you are experiencing burnout.
Additional Caregiver Supports
For more than 40 years, FCA has provided services to family caregivers. The site has articles on self-care and also can customize a plan for finding caregiver resources in your local community.
This non-profit, based out of Fort Wayne, IN, offers a variety of services to support caregivers. Their Family Caregiver Center offers support groups, consultations with resource specialists, and assistance with Advanced Care Planning. Their goal is to improve the ability to navigate complex health systems in order to decrease caregiver stress and increase their ability to care for their loved one in the community.
Your Church Cares
Don't forget about reaching out to your local church for help. Many churches have staffed or volunteer ministries dedicated to caring for those who are burdened. Even small congregations can do something simple to make a difference such as caring for a loved one for an afternoon or dropping off a meal. The church is called the body of Christ because it's called to do His work, to be His hands and feet to those He loves (you!).
If you don't have a church home, we at Worship Anew would love to connect you with a caring pastor in your area. Just call us at 1-888-286-8002.
The Lutheran Foundation
The Lutheran Foundation supports Lutheran and community organizations to advance Gospel sharing and promote mental wellness that silences the stigma of mental illness. Through awards, grants, education and resources, we are contributing toward renewed hope and healing.
To learn more, go to TheLutheranFoundation.org.