Providing care for a family member in need is an act of kindness, love, and loyalty. There are many different types of family caregiver situations. You may be taking care of an aging parent or a disabled spouse. Regardless of your particular situation, you’re facing a new role.
If you’re like most family caregivers, you have no formal training on your new role, “The Caregiver.” You probably never anticipated you’d be in this situation. You want your loved one to have the best possible care. The good news is that you don’t have to be a superhero, to be an exceptional caregiver. With the right resources and support, you can be the caregiver you want to be while taking good care of yourself.
Caregiving can trigger a multitude of different emotions. This may include anger, fear, guilt, sadness, and grief. It’s important to recognize and accept what you’re feeling, both good and bad. Don’t beat yourself up over your feelings- they simply mean you are human. Even the strongest most stoic person can suffer from exhaustion, anxiety, anger or guilt. The important thing to consider, how you will address these feelings. Being open and honest with friends and family will allow you the time needed to reboot. It is okay to accept help.
Even if you’re the primary caregiver, you can’t do everything on your own. You’ll need help from friends, family members, as well as health professionals. Getting the help and support you need, will allow you to maintain your own health and quality of life.
Before you can ask for help, you need to have a clear understanding of your love done’s needs. List all the caregiving tasks required, being as specific as possible. Determine which activities you are able to complete. The remaining tasks may be the ones you may need to ask others to help you with.
It’s not always easy to ask for help. Perhaps you’re afraid to impose on others or worried that your request will be rejected. If you simply make your needs known, you may be pleasantly surprised by the willingness of others to pitch in. Many times, friends and family members want to contribute, but don’t know how. Here are recommendations to make it easier:
Caregivers often put their own needs aside. It is necessary to keep and maintain your own medical appointments. Recognize that caregivers need to take a break, a 15 minute walk, a lunch out with friends or attending a local support group. Maintaining a healthy diet and establishing a physical exercise program will promote overall physical, emotional and mental well-being.