Caregiving is a challenging job, and it’s okay to make mistakes. The key is to learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them.
Caregivers need to stay healthy. This means getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet.
It’s also important to get help when needed. Read on to learn about Essential Caregiving Tips for Family Caregivers.
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Take Care of Yourself
When you are a family caregiver, taking care of yourself is crucial. Unfortunately, many family caregivers neglect to take good care of themselves and tend to put their needs on the back burner.
Caring for someone can be a very demanding job. You must find time for yourself and take breaks from your caregiving duties. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, you should try to relax and unwind in a way that works for you, such as going on a walk or meditating.
Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly are also essential for maintaining your health. In addition, try to make it a point to socialize with friends regularly (even if it’s just once every other week) and keep up with hobbies and interests.
It’s also okay to ask for help. Some family caregivers are reluctant to ask for help because they feel selfish, but remember, the person you are caring for also deserves you to be healthy. Just like the advice you receive on an airplane: “Put on your oxygen mask before helping others.” Asking for and accepting help can be extremely beneficial for you.
Many family caregivers are thrust into their role by a sudden medical crisis or the slow onset of an illness. Often, they are unprepared for the long-term commitment involved in caregiving and feel overwhelmed.
Connecting to family members and other caregiving resources can make a huge difference. Consider joining a support group, either in-person or online. Sharing with others who “get it” can be an uplifting and beneficial experience.
Also, keep in touch via video calling technology, like FaceTime, Skype and more. Many assisted living communities, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities offer family members the chance to connect via phone or video.
In addition, consider a medical alert system to help your loved one manage emergencies even when you are not nearby. Other helpful tools include:
- An online calendar and journal to record observations.
- A synchronized to-do list and contact database.
- A health-tracking app that lets you monitor medications.
Many of these devices can be delivered to your loved one at home, so they don’t have to leave their living environment to access them.
Don’t Forget About Your Loved One
Caring for an elderly or disabled loved one can be a very rewarding experience. However, it can also be overwhelming and stressful. Family caregivers need to stay positive, celebrate small victories and surround themselves with people that make them smile.
It is also vital for family caregivers to keep their health and well-being in mind. Having a supportive network of friends and family can help them cope with the stress of caregiving and prevent burnout.
In addition, family caregivers need to be organized and keep track of medical records, insurance information and medications. It is also a good idea to subscribe to an emergency alert system that allows your loved one to call for assistance in an emergency, even if you are not home. You should also ask your loved one their wishes regarding future care and involve them in conversations about their needs as much as possible. Engaging a mediator in these discussions may help avoid misunderstandings and disagreements.
Ask for Help
Family caregivers are often reluctant to accept help because they don’t want to burden others. However, this reluctance to ask for help puts the caregiver at serious risk of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion. This is known as caregiver burnout and can also affect the loved one receiving care.
Reaching out for help is the best way to avoid burnout as a family caregiver. This can be done by asking siblings to take a much-needed break from caregiving duties or hiring professional home health aides.
When asking for help from friends and family, be specific about what you need. Prepare a list of things that can be done and let the person choose from this. Doing so will allow them to feel like they are making a difference and that you appreciate their efforts. Also, be sure to thank those who do offer to help. This is a very simple yet meaningful gesture that can make all the difference in your relationship.
Make a Plan
Having a plan is one of the best caregiving tips you can do as a family caregiver. It will help ensure your loved one’s care needs are met when you aren’t there. It will also help reduce the pressure on you and give you peace of mind knowing that someone else is there to pick up the slack if something goes wrong.
Create a team of family members to help with your loved one’s care. Ideally, each person will have an area of responsibility and be held accountable. This will allow everyone to contribute their strengths and skills. It will also give you the time and space you need for yourself. Having someone in the family who has taken an online First Aid Courses Calgary AB is very important as they will be able to provide basic care and stabilize a patient in times of medical emergencies until emergency medical services become available.
Keep updated with new apps and trackers to make your caregiving life easier. A system that can manage medical appointments, communication with doctors, and even emergency response systems can relieve stress and keep your loved one safe. It’s also a good idea to have an advanced directive written. It will provide clear instructions on the level of care you want in a medical emergency and make the process much smoother for your loved ones.