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May is Older Americans Month

Support the ones who are supporting our seniors
Linda Wenzel, A.C.E. of SW Minnesota Rock County program coordinator

For many caregivers, stress is a constant companion. One effective way to reduce caregiver stress and reduce burnout is to write in a journal. Getting your thoughts down on paper and out of your head is therapeutic.  Studies have found that journaling improves health and well-being.
Chronic stress is devastating on your physical and mental health. Take a few minutes out of your busy day and try to write down your thoughts.
Some suggestions you could do to help you stay as healthy as possible while you care for your older adult are as follows:
•Keep a gratitude list as it helps shift your perspective and see that the world is not negative all the time. Make a list of things you are grateful for every day and keep adding to the list.  When you are feeling negative or discouraged, read through your list to get a dose of positivity.
•Track your accomplishments, as caregiving involves many thankless tasks and exhausting battles.  When you are feeling down, review that list to remind yourself of the things you have achieved.
•Give yourself wise advice by writing the struggle down using the third person.  By doing this, you can distance yourself from what is happening and focus on the facts.  This changes your perspective and helps you to reach an objective solution.
•When you are in a negative mood, it can be difficult to remember how to get out of it.  Make a list of things that give you joy,  activities that relax you, or music that boosts your mood.  When you are feeling down, take out that list and do one of those things that bring you joy.
•Spend more time in nature.  This is one of the best ways to refresh your senses and relax your mind.  If you are not able to be outside on a regular basis, write about spending time in one of your favorite outdoor locations.  Describe your surroundings, the landscape, and how it makes you feel, and then imagine that you are there.
A.C.E. of SW MN  offers caregiver respite to relieve caregivers for a short period of time to run errands, socialize or just step away to get a break.
We also have a caregiver support group that meets the fourth Tuesday of every month. It is a safe place for caregivers to meet and develop a mutual support system. Please call 507-283-5064 for more information.
As we celebrate Older Americans month, please remember to support these amazing folks who have given so much to our communities.

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