What should I do if I’m feeling stressed (or my parent/friend/relative is stressed)?
One of the best ways to handle caregiving stress is to talk about your experiences. Family, friends, and support groups are all good outlets. For caregivers, your local Alzheimer's Association may well have support groups that may be beneficial. If you are feeling blue or down or persistently anxious and seem unable to shake the feeling, psychotherapy can help you work out good coping strategies so you feel more in control of some aspects of your life. If you are unable to afford therapy or are restricted to your home, there are many sources of support on the internet: organized support groups, chat rooms, or message lists.
Relaxation methods are also good ways to find balance for your body and mind. Some good methods are progressive muscle relaxation, imagery, meditation, hypnosis, and deep breathing. Massage may also be helpful.
It is also important to attend to basic health habits. Poor sleep, alcohol and tobacco use, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition can all interact with stress to affect your body and your mind. Even if circumstances prevent you from living a totally healthy lifestyle, improving those aspects that are under your control will promote better wellbeing.
What resources are available for caregivers?
There are many online resources that can be helpful, and these include opportunities to chat with others, infrmation and news, and helpful tips. Here are some links that are examples of what can be found:
Brain Injury Family Caregiver
Children of Aging Parents
Family Caregiver Alliance
Stroke Caregivers Handbook
Vision Loss Caregivers Handbook
Alzheimer’s Support Web Sites:
You can also contact your local Alzheimer’s Disease organization. They should be able to provide you with details about local caregiver support groups and answer any questions you may have.
How can I get my IL-6 levels tested?
Ask your physician if it is possible in your area, and if she or he can provide guidance and interpretation. For patients seen at OSU, for example, it requires a referral from your physician. Please note that IL-6 is not routinely assayed right now; however, C-reactive protein (CRP), which has been implicated in cardiovascular disease, is now widely assayed. CRP production is stimulated by IL-6.
How can I contribute financially to your research?
If you're interested in donating money to our research program on stress and health, please contact Mr. Steve Tumblin, Development Officer, Medical Center Development, 506A Battelle, 1375 Perry Street, Columbus, OH 43210, phone 614-293-2911, and specify that you wish to earmark your contribution for the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research for human studies on stress and health.