Ways for a Caregiver to Care for ThemselvesJune 20, 2022
Caring for a senior is a rewarding job, but it can also be a stressful one. As caregivers support older adults, many end up pushing aside their own needs. While it may seem like the right thing to do, it is often at the expense of their health. This leads to poor physical health, mental health, and burnout.
While you can’t always avoid the stress that comes with providing care to an elderly loved one, lengthy periods of caregiver stress can be a serious problem. Signs include constant feelings of worry and exhaustion, being easily agitated, having frequent body pains and/or headaches, and losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.
Caregiver stress should not be ignored. It not only impacts both your emotional, mental, and physical health, but as it continues, it will impact your caregiving abilities.
You cannot care for a loved one if you don’t take care of yourself first. Self-care is crucial and is nothing to feel guilty about. Utilize these ways for a caregiver to care for themselves and become a better caregiver as a result.
Join a caregiver support group
If you’re experiencing caregiver burnout and stress, you are most certainly not alone. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, approximately 34.2 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult aged 50 or older. As the baby-boomer generation retires, this number is bound to rise.
Caregiver support groups combat this problem. Alongside other caregivers, attendees can improve caregiving skills and get advice about treatment options, and there are emotional benefits as well. Through the support of others, attendees learn healthy coping skills, reduce anxiety and loneliness, and gain a sense of empowerment. It may be precisely what you need to relieve your caregiver stress.
Prioritize healthy living
Living a healthy life is centered around these facets: a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and a quality night’s sleep. Diet, exercise, and sleep are all directly correlated with stress levels. Make sure that the correlation is positive.
There may be some days when it feels impossible to achieve all three, and that is okay. What is most important is that you strive towards healthy living on a regular basis. Consistency is key to a better quality of life.
It can be difficult to find the time to eat a balanced diet, but meal-prepping and meal-plan services make that easier. With respect to exercise, even 15 minutes will help boost your energy throughout the day. According to the CDC, most adults should attempt to get between seven and nine hours a night.
Schedule short periods of rest
Some caregivers may feel like they measure their time in the individual care needs of their loved ones. Constantly jumping from point A, to point B, to point C without rest is the fastest way to fall prey to burnout. Schedule short periods of “me-time” to avoid it.
Make this me-time reflect your current needs. For some, it might mean partaking in their favorite hobby for half an hour. For others, it might mean sitting quietly with a cup of coffee in the morning. Whatever your period of rest entails, you’ll be surprised how valuable it is to your overall well-being.
Be realistic with your to-do list
Caregivers are real-life superheroes, but still human. When setting your to-do list for the day or week, remember that. Sometimes, the impossibility of a to-do list can be staggering. This may exacerbate any emotional and mental struggles you are already experiencing. Don’t set too lofty of goals or make too long of a list.
Keep in mind not only your loved one’s capabilities and needs, but your own. Think about what you are usually able to achieve in a day, and build your schedule around that. Remember the tip above and don’t forget to schedule periods of rest for your body and mind. If you still find yourself overburdened by your to-do list, consider asking for outside help.
Ask for, and accept, help
For some, asking for help is one of the most difficult parts of being a caregiver. Many shoulder the struggles that come with caring for a family member in silence, no matter how overwhelmed they may be. Some feel guilty for burdening another person with these hardships, and instead of getting help, they struggle.
If you find yourself overcome by everything caring for an elderly loved one entails, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help. Consider preparing a list of tasks that would be easy for another person to do. This could mean running errands or sitting with your elderly loved one for a while you take some personal time.
When asking for help, avoid posing indirect questions (“Do you think maybe you could help sometime?”). Instead, lay out precisely what you need from your friend or family member. (“Could you sit with Mom for a few hours this weekend?”). This way your helper knows exactly what is expected of them.
Consider in-home professional care
In-home caregivers can lessen the load. Whether you have a caregiving service come in a few times a week or just once a week, their help will make a world of difference. With professional help, you don’t have to worry about everything that could go wrong. Rest easy knowing the caregiver is properly trained to take care of your elderly loved one.
At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our caregivers work with your family one-on-one to develop a personalized plan to not only meet the needs of your loved one, but your needs. You may not require every one of our offered services, but we provide a diverse array of options for you to choose from, including:
- Assisting in bathing and dressing
- Light housework
- Meal preparation/nutrition
- Running errands
- And more
Call us today at and ask how Home Care Powered by AUAF can help you and your loved one have a good quality of life.
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