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Mental Health Awareness Month: Tips for Caregiving for a Loved One Living with a Mental Illness

By Jessica Deng

Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness of behavioral health issues as well as highlight the ways how mental illness can affect all of us and how essential it is to overall health and well-being.

When a loved one is struggling with a mental illness, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions and stress, especially when you may take on new roles and responsibilities. It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with mental illness will also be different.

Educate yourself about the illness.

Educating yourself about your loved one’s illness is the foundation of support. Not knowing how the illness can functions can create misconceptions and without proper education, it’s hard for people to grasp the severety of the symptoms.

Check in often and pay attention to moods.

Even if you’re living with a senior with mental illness, it can take serious attentiveness to see changes in everyday moods. If you start noticing your loved one swing toward depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, it’s time to reach out to experts for help.

Establish a care team.

Build a professional care team. This may include health care providers, specialists, social workers, financial advisors, attorneys, or home care aides. When caring for a mentally ill individual, pressing concerns or questions about how to handle a situation arises frequently. A quick message to your personal care adviser will result in a timely response.

Be available as a friend.

One of the most important things for a person with a mental illness is knowing that they have strong bonds with friends and family who sincerely love them. Continue to care for your loved one and be their friend, and set boundaries so that you do not get hurt physically or emotionally.

Take care of yourself, too.

As caregivers, it’s easy to lose oneself in the process of caring for someone else. Ensure you take time for yourself each week to decompress and be away from your aging loved one. Taking care of yourself is healthy and necessary for being a successful caregiver.

Caregiving can take many forms and has a great possibility to enhance one’s quality of life. Mental health caregivers provide support for loved ones, and it can be helpful to consider some strategies that can be used to help both your overall well-being as well as your loved ones. Here is a closer look at a few caregiving strategies to help manage and treating their mental health.

It’s normal for a caregiver to need support from time to time. If you are feeling overwhelmed or if your loved one needs special care, consider seeking support from our client care coordinators at LifeWorx. The mental health of both a caregiver and seniors are just as important as their physical well-being.

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