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Caregivers Need to Care For Themselves

December 18, 2006

Fargo, ND - According to the American Heart Association, someone in the United States has a stroke every 45 seconds, making it the leading cause of disability in North Dakota and nationwide. Jena Gorden of Meritcare Medical Center in Fargo says patients certainly need a shoulder to lean on, but so do the people taking care of them. That's where support groups like the one she supervises come in.

"I think people will often say they can talk with their family members and their friends, but they don't truly understand all of the trials and tribulations they are going through and all of the struggles and emotions that they experience unless they've been through it."

The holidays can be especially tough on patients and caregivers alike. There may be frustration or anger over having to miss out on holiday traditions or not being able to travel.

But Gorden stresses caregivers can't blame themselves. She urges that they seek the support of others.

"Many times a caregiver is so caught up in all of the responsibilities they have to care for their loved one that they neglect themselves. I think that's really the most important piece in terms of coping - making sure that you take time for yourself."

To locate a support group in your area, call 888-4-stroke.

Debbie Aasen/David Law, Public News Service - ND