Family Caregivers Should Remember These Tips
Being a family caregiver is practically a full time job. It can consume many hours of the day and your mind may be preoccupied for hours, as well. Who can blame you? There are so many things to be aware of, both for your aging loved one and for others around you. Your responsibilities may be compounded if you have a family to worry about on top of being a caregiver. ElderCare at Home understands just how stressful it can become. As a result, we want to remind you of some important tips that—we hope—will help you manage your stress healthily and efficiently.
Remember these tips:
- Embrace good and bad days: If you have a loved one with a degenerative neurological disorder, there will likely be days that are harder than others. Mentally preparing yourself for these possibilities will help you respond quickly and hopefully at no surprise. When you can expect challenges, you will likely respond to them with a clear mind. Likewise, not every day is bad. Cherish the moments when you and your loved one are happy. Even though your loved one’s situation may be considered serious from the outside, you can still find moments to hold on to and enjoy.
- It’s okay to lie: Let us rephrase: It’s okay to use therapeutic lies. What are these? These are lies that you tell your loved one with dementia in order to calm them down or divert their attention during their challenging behaviors. These lies are different than malicious lies. For example, many people who have dementia experience delusions. These delusions can sometimes consist of beliefs that someone is stealing from them. If your loved one believes that their wallet has been stolen, they may end up reacting negatively and acting out. Many times, the best way to respond to this situation is to acknowledge that somebody did steal their wallet and that you will do something about it. This response is not technically true, but can encourage your loved one to safe and that whatever is bothering them will be addressed. Soon after, the thought might pass and the problem disappears.
- Admit that you cannot take on everything: People have their limits. Remember that you have limits, too. If you try to spread yourself out too thin, you will end up experiencing “caregiver burnout.” Essentially, this experience means overwork and fatigue. As a result, you will not be able to care for your loved one because things have either become too much to handle or you have become too exhausted to handle them. Don’t let this happen.
- Take care of yourself: To avoid “caregiver burnout,” remember that it is okay to focus on yourself for a little bit. Do something active like walking or going to the gym. Spend time with a good friend or a family member. These moments can be restorative and help you alleviate anxiety and stress.
- Take advice wherever you can get it: If you have the opportunity to speak with a counselor, take advantage of the wisdom they have to give. Likewise, trips to the doctor with your loved one might be valuable opportunities to express what has been on your mind and to learn important coping strategies. Nobody gives you a handbook on how to be a family caregiver, so it is important to educate yourself in whatever way possible.
ElderCare at Home is here for you. If you have any more questions, please give us a call at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.