Many of us are becoming familiar with the term “aging in place.” It is the desire of most seniors to stay at home as long as possible as they require more care. Keeping them in their own environment allows your senior loved one to feel more secure and safe. This is especially the case with those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or Parkinson’s Disease. However, if you are the main caregiver, you probably already know that it’s a very demanding job, requiring a lot of care and patience. So, how do you cope as a caregiver? Read on….
What Defines a Caregiver?
Caregivers can be any person who is actively caring for another person whether they be a child, spouse or another relative. While you may not label yourself as a caregiver, it’s important that you realize that you are indeed in that role if you are helping with daily care for another person! Recognizing this allows you to reach out for support when you need it. Below are some important survival tips for any caregiver!
- Accept Help from Others. People love to help out when they are asked. Often, they just don’t know how to help, so be sure to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Put together a list of ways others might help make your life as a caregiver easier. You might include things like running errands, grocery shopping or taking the person who is being cared for on a walk or to visit a friend.
- Recognize Your Role. It’s perfectly normal to have feelings of frustration or even guilt when caring for a loved one. There’s no such thing as a perfect caregiver, so focus on the things you CAN do and give yourself lots of grace and patience.
- Be Realistic. Set small goals so you don’t get overwhelmed. Breaking big tasks down into smaller ones can help you stay focused and provide a feeling of accomplishment. Make a list of daily priorities and work from an order of importance. Creating a daily routine is very helpful to both you and your loved one.
- Learn to Say No. Caregiving demands a lot, so don’t hesitate to say no to other responsibilities such as hosting holiday events, etc.
- Stay Connected. Reach out to others for support. There are many support groups for caregivers. You can find ones in your community or join one on social media. They may be an invaluable resource for help and creative ideas. You need people to talk to and share your concerns with. Support groups are a wonderful way to do that. Be sure to stay connected with friends and family as well!
- Be Good to Yourself. Make sure you don’t neglect your own health. Focus on creating healthy habits, such as good sleep routines, not skipping meals, etc. Of course, you should also drink lots of water and eat healthy food.
- Respite Care Caregivers. You may feel guilty when you need a break, but you must remember that if you aren’t taking care of yourself and getting times of respite, you’re no good to anybody. Don’t feel bad about asking to be relieved of your duties from time to time. There are wonderful agencies who can send someone to help fill in while you rest. Better yet, plan for this to be a regular part of your routine. Everyone stays healthier and the outcome for your loved one will be much better!
For more information and survival tips for caregivers, contact us today!