For most caregivers, being there when a loved one needs you is important. Since caregiving is often a long-term challenge, the stress it generates can be damaging, especially when your loved one’s condition is deteriorating. Remember, those who care for others do a better job of caregiving when their own needs are attended to.
We created this guide to explore topics that can make the role of the caregiver easier, while providing adequate support to the person receiving the care. The following test will help you become aware of your feelings, pressures and stress you currently feel.
Which of the following are seldom true, sometimes true, often true, or usually true?
- I find I can’t get enough rest.
- I don’t have enough time for myself.
- I don’t have time to be with other family members beside the person care for.
- I feel guilty about my situation.
- I don’t get out much anymore.
- I have conflict with the person I care for.
- I have conflicts with other family members.
- I cry everyday.
- I worry about having enough money to make ends meet.
- I don’t feel I have enough knowledge or experience to give care as well as I’d like.
- My own health is not good.
If the response to one or more of these areas is usually true or often true it may be time to begin looking for help with caring for the care-receiver and help in taking care of yourself.
What Can I Do to Help Myself?
- Acknowledge your feelings. Your feelings have a lot to do with the way you view and cope with care-giving. All feeling are legitimate, even those that may seem disturbing to you (including anger, frustration, and sadness). Recognizing and accepting your emotions are the first step toward resolving problems of guilt and stress. Learn to express your feelings to family members, friends, or professionals.
- Join a Caregiver Support Group. In addition to offering useful information, such groups provide a unique forum for caregivers to come together and share their feelings in a supportive environment. Groups help caregivers feel less isolated and can create strong bonds of mutual help and friendship.
- Set Realistic Goals. Care-giving is probably one of the many conflicting demands on your time. It is important to set realistic goals. Recognize what you can and cannot do, define your priorities, and act accordingly. Turn to other people for help – your family, friends, and neighbors. Prepare a list of tasks for anyone who may offer assistance.
- Use Community Resources. Investigate community resources that might be helpful. Consider using in-home services or adult day care. Employ a homemaker to cook and clean, or an aide to help your care-receiver bathe, eat, dress, use the bathroom or get around the house. You can also contact Cohme to design a short-term care plan for your loved one.
- Use Respite Care Services. When you need a break from providing care to your care-receiver, look at respite care. For example, a companion can stay with your care-receiver for a few hours at a time on a regular basis to give you time off. Or have your care-receiver participate in an adult day care program where he or she can socialize with peers in a supervised setting; this gives your care-receiver a necessary break from staying home all the time.
- Maintain your Health. Your general well-being affects your outlook on life and your ability to cope. Make sure your schedule your yearly physicals and don’t miss out on Doctor’s appointment.
For More Information about Caring for Yourself, Visit:
Family Caregiver Alliance
National Alliance for Caregiving