Serving as family caregiver for an older loved one, although incredibly fulfilling, can also cause an elevated level of caregiver stress. The 24/7 pressure of taking care of a loved one’s care needs can very quickly intensify to turn into caregiver burnout – a dangerous condition that can cause a loss of patience and emotional outbursts, impacting not only the caregiver personally, but his or her older loved one as well. Read more
Caregivers are a special breed of people who put the needs of others before their own. Caregivers can also become overwhelmed at times. Being responsible for the care of another can become all-consuming, and it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Here are some things that you can do to help overcome this issue so that you can enjoy your work and your life once again.
Educate Yourself – Take the time to research the disease or condition that the person under your care is experiencing. When you understand, for example, that an Alzheimer’s patient can go through periods of lucidity immediately followed by confusion, it helps you manage better.
Realize You’re Not In Control – One of the hardest things to deal with is the lack of control over anything in our lives. As a caregiver, you must understand that things change almost hourly and you have to accept it. No matter how much you wish the situation was different, you truly cannot change it, that is not your responsibility.
Acknowledge Your Stress – Being a caregiver takes a lot out of you every day. It’s physically, emotionally and mentally draining at times. It’s okay to admit that you’re feeling the pressure and that it’s affecting you. Remember that you are only human and the emotions that you feel are only natural.
Talk To Someone – You will find a great deal of relief if you can talk about your feelings. Even if they cannot help you directly, just being able to say what’s on your mind without worrying about how it sounds can be freeing. Join a caregiver support group, talk to a friend, clergy, doctor or even a therapist if you need to.
Eat Well – Sometimes stress can rob you of your appetite and it’s hard to eat. When you deprive yourself of the proper nutrition, your body and mind will not able to cope with the stress as well. A good breakfast that features proteins and fresh fruit will set the tone for the day. Have a solid lunch and a light dinner and, if you need a boost, grab a snack.
Drink Right – Feeling run-down and irritable is a sign of dehydration. One of the most effective ways of keeping yourself energetic and feeling good is to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for the most part, since they will actually dehydrate you.
Get Some Rest – You simply cannot function properly without adequate sleep. But, it’s a sad fact that sleep deprivation is a major problem for many caregivers. The truth is, without adequate rest, you’ll be more likely to make mistakes and it will add to your stress.
Go Have Some Fun – There’s nothing more effective for raising your spirits than laughing and playing with friends and family. Being a caregiver does not mean giving up everything that you enjoy. Watch a funny movie, sing karaoke or whatever it is that makes you smile.
Ask For Help – One of the hardest things to do is to admit that you cannot handle everything yourself. But, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a sign of strength. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say that you’re in over your head. If you can find someone to fill in for a day or even a few hours, it will help ease your load.
Caregivers first have to care for themselves in order to be able to take care of others. Contact us you are a caregiver that’s feeling the pressure, we can help. We look forward to helping you provide the best care for your loved one.
Did you know that one in five Americans is a caregiver? It’s true; twenty percent of us care for an elderly or disabled person at home. We try to be super-human and balance our jobs and family with caregiving duties, but that seldom works. Caregivers burn out. They get frustrated and angry, they have more sick days and they are exhausted. Added to that, most caregivers of people 65 or older are in their 60s themselves. That means they may be dealing with some age-related arthritis or other health issues themselves.
If you are one of the twenty percent, you may have considered arranging for senior care services but you feel guilty at the prospect of hiring someone to help. You feel justified in having someone administer medications or lift your loved one for baths, but the idea of someone who will come and “just sit” makes you uneasy. After all, you are there and you can visit with your loved one, you can do dishes and vacuum, you can give massages and treat wounds.You can give adequate care without the added expense of in-home senior services.
Well, first, in-home caregivers seldom “just sit.” They read to the patient to keep them alert or they visit to give them socialization. Beyond that, the service caregivers can help with light housekeeping. That is where the guilt often surfaces. After all, if you are there, why let someone else do the work…and why pay to have it done?
The answer is simple: it will keep you from burnout and the associated illnesses it brings. Seventy-five percent of family caregivers are women, and women need more socialization. In short, you need to get out from time to time. In addition, the service doesn’t provide all the care. You do a lot. You are the “first responder” in the morning and the one who answers the call at two a.m. You are more likely to be obese than the general population. Wounds heal slower and you get depressed easier. Added to this, the resentment you may feel from being “boxed in” by your caregiving duties can lead to an unhealthy relationship with your loved one.
Insurance companies don’t usually cover custodial help. Still, the expense might be just as justifiable as a routine medical exam or a gym membership. It is preventative treatment. The cost may be less than treating burn-out related illness. If you are the one-in-five, that is something to consider.
If you would like to know more about in-home senior care, contact us. Let us show you how, instead of a “guilty pleasure,” it might just be a “stitch-in-time.”
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