Important Things Every Caregiver Should RememberNovember 9, 2022
About 17% of adults provide care for their mom or dad at some juncture—and that number is only set to rise. Each member of the baby-boomer generation will reach age 65 or older by the year 2030. In response, the number of family caregivers will have to rise. You may not provide care to a loved one yet, but the chances are high that you will.
Transitioning into the role of caregiver is challenging. If you are about to embark on that journey, take heed of these important things every caregiver should remember.
Your job is important
This might go without saying to some, but it is crucial that you remember the importance of your job. When you become a caregiver, you become the individual who ensures your elderly loved one’s well-being. You may be responsible for reminding them to take their medication, driving them to their appointments, or keeping them clean. Taking a day off isn’t as simple as not clocking in anymore, as you have to determine who takes over your responsibilities.
It is essential that you keep all this in mind. This isn’t said to scare you, but to ensure you treat your new role seriously. Your loved one is relying on you. Don’t forget it.
It will likely be a gradual transition
Unless your parent undergoes a medical emergency, you likely are not going to go from no care necessary to around-the-clock supervision. The process may begin with you bringing your loved one meals when they decide they don’t want to cook anymore. Then, you might have to drive them to their appointments. As time goes on, you’ll find your loved one needs more and more assistance to live on their own.
Caregiving might impact your relationships
Especially as you assimilate your life responsibilities and your caregiving responsibilities, you may find you don’t have the time for your friends like you once did. This is entirely normal, but it is important you don’t lose touch with these friends. They can be there for you on the hard days, as well as the days when you just want to have some fun. The best way to keep in touch is to schedule regular get-togethers or phone calls.
As for family, make sure they are aware of what is going on in your loved one’s life. Encourage them to get involved. Even something as simple as treating your elderly loved one to lunch will make a big impact. Your loved one will enjoy the time together, and you’ll enjoy the time to yourself.
It’s normal to need a break
Many caregivers feel guilty about taking time for themselves when their loved one needs them. This is an unhealthy mindset that will do nothing but hurt both of you. If you burn yourself out, you’ll feel the effects on your physical and mental health, but it’s more than that. Another important thing every caregiver should remember is that caregiver burnout will directly impact your ability to provide care to your loved one.
Do not underestimate the wonderful effects of a break. Every day, take time for yourself to do what you love—not to take care of chores, but to enjoy a hobby or television show for even half an hour. Contact a home care agency for respite care, should you want to go on vacation.
You need support too
Acting as a caregiver is all about supporting your elderly loved one, but you need support too. Ask friends and family members for assistance every now and again so you can take a longer break without feeling guilty. Don’t be afraid to vent to them about the hard days—because some days will be harder than others. On those days, remember these affirmations for caregivers for a little internal support.
In addition, support groups are highly beneficial to many caregivers. It helps it have someone to speak with who truly understands what you’re going through, as it can be difficult expressing your feelings to someone who hasn’t experienced this.
Overall, it’s rewarding
There will be stressful, overwhelming days full of daunting decisions, but all of that culminates into something wonderful: your loved one’s happiness. You are the reason they are able to live in the comfort of their home healthfully and happily. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you need help, hire a caregiver
Even with these important things every caregiver should remember, there may be some days when it is difficult for you to do it all. An at-home caregiver can take some of that weight off your shoulders. For nearly 30 years, Home Care Powered by AUAF has assisted seniors with personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, and other activities of daily living they require.
To learn more about our services or how you can become a paid family caregiver, call us at 773-274-9262.
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