Caregiving is loving, heroic, can be rewarding, gratifying but quite overwhelming. It is quite easy to tell a family caregiver to take time out, to take a break, and to go get rest but the truth and reality is: it is easier said than done!. It is hard because most family caregivers feel obligated and in doing so, they feel guilty when they can’t do it all. Most of the times, they don’t have access to information, help and resources available to them to make things somewhat easier.
In this post, we share five easy ways a caregiver can keep a sound mind while continuing to be an effective caregiver
- Learn about care recipients disease & medications - the more a caregiver knows, the better caregiver they will become in managing issues that arises.Websites such as National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society are government website and offers so much information, particularly for Caregiver. Another aspect is learning medication management strategies. This is where having a close relationship with the pharmacist and physician is critical.
- Staying organized – As a caregiver, one needs to be organized. Make a list, use Google calender, task, get a note book or calender. To do lists should include: doctors appointment, medication list, contact list, family members phone numbers this is very critical
- Taking care of you – A tired and stressed out caregiver is not only detrimental to themselves but to their care recipient and/or loved one. Simple things like walking/yoga is calming and healthy for any caregiver, taking mini breaks and talking with a friend for 10 minutes can do wonders, writing a journal is wonderful and freeing for those who enjoy writing. This helps prevent burnout, stress and health related issues. Making sure caregiver have their personal care plan is great – this should include their own doctors appointment, plan for respite care and personal time.
- Local or community support groups – American Cancer Society & National Cancer Institute has so many resources and information on support groups, websites. WhatNext, Lotsahelpinghand.com, local administration on aging (AOA) are great. Check them out.
- Asking for help - Caregivers tend to want to do it all, provide all caring and feel guilty to ask for help. Sometimes, they forget that they are human beings – for family caregivers, communication with family members is quite imperative. Sometime, caregivers are not aware of some of the points mentioned in #4. Churches and local volunteer organizations are available to help with transportation, meals, hourly respite relief.
How do you maintain a healthy caregiving lifestyle? Find these tips helpful? Please share with others.