During these difficult times, many of us have become caregivers to those who need it the most, this could be a family member or a neighbour. You play a vital role in looking after their everyday needs – it is natural to feel overwhelming and exhausted at times, especially when there is no end date in sight.
The most important thing is to remember your health should be looked after too, don’t let your sleep be affected and ensure you’re still eating on a regular basis.
To give you some extra support and encouragement, experts at Forest Healthcare have shared their best advice on how to strive as a caregiver.
- Take a break without guilt When you’re supporting someone alongside dealing with your own stress and mental health, it is important to take breaks. Allow yourself to respite a couple of times in the day, without feeling guilty. A happy and refreshed carer is much better for everyone when they’ve taken a break themselves. Don’t ever be too hard on yourself, you’re doing the best you can do during these difficult times.
- When they look good, they feel good It can be a fun task to make your loved one feel good by giving them a makeover! Washing their hair, giving them a haircut or changing their outfits can make a big difference to how they feel and see themselves. Even the simplest thing as wearing something with brighter colours can uplift their mood for the day.
- Be patient Given the current climate, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed. It is important to provide loved ones, care in respect of their independence. Your patience might be tested so always remember to go for regular walks for a breath of fresh air. Work together as a team and you will find that communication is key.
- Look for guidance If you’ve suddenly been put into the role of a caregiver, you might have a million questions. What should they eat? When should they be asleep? Just because you’re inside, doesn’t mean help isn’t available. Some organisations such as the Red Cross, have a lot of information online and a helpline. You can also use social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn to find a geriatric caseworker that can help identify any problems and resolve them.
- Be proactive Take charge and have a plan in place to prevent any panic during last minute emergencies. This will help prevent a sense of control to the situation, by ensuring you know who to call if anything happened, it would give you a sense of security and reassurance.
- Be organised Develop a daily routine and stick to it, find something that you will stick to such as a wall planner, notebook or a Google calendar. Make a note of daily tasks such as personal hygiene, meal preparation and dressing as well as important things, such as paying bills on time. Have doctors’ numbers handy in case you need them and set up any alerts for prescription pick-ups.
- Don’t be hard on yourself Being a carer triggers a lot of difficult emotions, you will feel resent and then guilt because you feel resent. This doesn’t mean you don’t care for the person in question, it just means you’re human. Instead of bottling your emotions, write them in a journal, talk about them with a loved one or share them in an online support group so you know you’re not alone.
This piece was brought to you by the experts at www.foresthc.com