When you are providing care for a loved one or an elderly person, you might not be aware of how much energy it takes out of you as a caregiver. A caregiver devotes all their time and energy to the person they are caring for whether it is part-time or full-time. Like any job, caregiving has its good and bad days and both kinds of days can alter your mood drastically even if you are caring for a loved one or you are a professional caregiver to someone unrelated to you.
Caregiving can leave you feeling stressed out, alone and you can become physically and mentally exhausted, especially if you forget to care for yourself during it too. Being a caregiver is extremely important to the person you are caring for and their loved ones because you are vital to their overall well-being. If you lack focus on yourself then the quality of life is brought down for you and the person you are caring for, which is why we have created tips to help you throughout your caregiving journey.
Take Care of Yourself
If you are beginning to neglect yourself and stop doing the things you love to do because you’re too busy with work, then you are not benefitting anyone with your lack of self-care. Although being a caregiver is an important job to do, it does not mean that you should stop doing the things you love and seeing your loved ones. When you begin to neglect yourself, you are not only putting yourself at risk but the person you are caring for too. To ensure that you are taking care of yourself, you must begin to prioritize yourself and stay connected to your loved ones and friends by going out and taking some time off for yourself.
If you are caring for a loved one, then you can ask your family and siblings for some support by communicating with them that you need extra help with the responsibilities and workload. Communication is extremely crucial because it ensures that all parties are well taken care of.
If you need some additional help as a caregiver and you feel you have no one to turn to then you can seek aid from outside sources such as government agencies. These agencies like USA.gov can offer support services to family caregivers who are providing care for people of the ages 60 and older or any adult with dementia. The caregiver should be 18 and older who is caring for a person who meets the requirements. This support program will provide caregivers with individual counseling, caregiver training, support groups, and supplemental services along with other resources to help guide you as a caregiver.
Sometimes it is difficult to stay positive, especially when you are overwhelmed with your own responsibilities and someone else’s. However, practicing positive self-talk can really change your entire outlook on life and it makes you more grateful for everything. When you are stressed and feeling negative, you begin to take everything for granted and stop appreciating the good that you are doing; especially if you’re watching your loved one’s health decline. However, you can stop that when you begin to look at things more positively. This will also help you in your work because you won’t feel as drained and unfocused since those negative thoughts can worsen your mood and tire you out faster due to caregiver burnout.
Organize a Team
If you are worried about not being there for your loved one, then you can make your life easier by being on a first-name basis with their neighbors along with swapping personal information in case of an emergency. You can also get in contact with your city’s emergency services department and giving them your loved one’s contact information so they are able to provide as much help to any first responders if an emergency should occur. Another thing to consider is adding a monitoring system or home security system to their home so you and your family can monitor them when you are not around. Lastly, you can contact a transportation service in your area to ensure that you have someone who can pick them up if you are unable to do so.
Organize Important Documents
Keeping important documents in safe places where you won’t lose them is something that is expected no matter what it is for. When you are caring for a loved one, you will be dealing with their own paperwork such as their medical and legal documents along with their finances. To reduce your stress, you should store all of these documents in a place where you won’t lose them. This will lessen your stress because you won’t be frantically searching for them later.