Family Caregiving: How to Help
Family caregiving can be a confusing process, especially when you are starting out. Probably, the main question you may be asking yourself is: “How can I help?” Fortunately, there are some considerations you can follow to ensure that you are well-positioned to care for your loved one. In this blog, we will discuss how you can make yourself available and a valuable asset in your loved one’s life.
Follow these steps if you want to be helpful for your loved one:
(1) Do not do everything by yourself: One of the traps many family caregivers fall into is trying to accomplish everything on their own. This is a recipe for disaster. Caregiving is not a “one-person” job, and you should not unnecessarily push yourself to your limit—you will burnout. If you are able, reach out to friends and family members who can help out either physically, financially, or emotionally. You will find a lot of success if you work with a team.
(2) Educate yourself: If you want to effectively care for your love one, then you absolutely need to understand what they are going through (to the best of your ability). Educating yourself on your loved one’s condition is important, not only because it will give you insight into their personal experience, but also because it will teach you how you can respond to their specific situation. Do not be afraid to ask your loved one’s doctor about how you can learn more about what they are going through. Educating yourself about what is wrong is one of the first steps to being an empathetic and effective caregiver.
(3) Do not be negative: Just because caregiving is difficult does not mean the entire experience itself is a negative one. Challenges are just that—challenges! Use challenges and setbacks as learning experiences to help you improve on future situations. Be sure to seek psychological support if you feel that you need to talk to someone about your mental health. It is okay to admit that you are having trouble, but it is not okay to hide behind that trouble or to neglect it. Negative experiences are not fun to live through, but they can offer a lot of insight into how you react, behave, and respond to negative situations. Challenges should be learning experiences. But make sure you do not go through them alone, especially if you can seek advice from a mental health expert.
(4) Give yourself a break: Humans beings are not endless sources of energy, regardless of how hard we try to exceed our own capacities. We need time to relax, rest, and rejuvenate. If you can find some support, like through a nurse registry or from a family member, hire someone to fill in for you for a few hours out of the day. Then, use the time you are not working to do something that is relaxing, whether it is napping, reading a book, watching a movie, or exercising.
(5) Do not forget about yourself: This sounds a little counter-intuitive but helping yourself will ensure that you are well-suited to help others. For example, if you become too tired, stressed, or agitated because you are not taking adequate care of yourself, how can you expect to help someone who depends on you? It is okay to make time for yourself, to do activities that bring you joy, to take rests. These are all things that are healthy and necessary to keep us balanced. You are not selfish if you make time for yourself. Helping yourself is the first step to helping others.
If you have any other questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visite our website.