Common Challenges for Caregivers
Family caregiving is a demanding role to assume, and it comes with a variety of unexpected challenges. Many times, family caregivers have no experience with caregiving prior to their experience now. As a result, facing challenges and/or obstacles can cause unexpected stress and could lead to “burning out,” also known as giving up from utter exhaustion. In this blog, we would like to describe some of the most common challenges that come with the role of caregiving and how you can respond appropriately to them. Sometimes, just knowing what to expect can make all the difference.
What to Expect
(1) Physically Demanding Work: Many people are surprised to learn just how physically demanding caregiving is. If your loved one is unable to walk safely, bathe themselves, cook for themselves, etc., then you are essentially there to help them do all that This may involve transferring your loved one from their bed to a wheelchair or to the shower. When transferring your loved one, make sure to not put your back in a vulnerable position. Use your legs and tighten your stomach muscles whenever you are completing a lift.
(2) Lack of Privacy: Sometimes, caregivers take care of their loved one in their own homes. This can be a huge convenience as it does not require frequent commuting between your house, work, and a third location. As a result, you may be unable to enjoy the level of privacy you had previously. There is not much you can do in this situation, other than just coming to terms with the fact that this will be the arrangement as long as your loved one lives with you. There are two ideas, however: (1) You can look into nearby assisted living facilities for your loved one; and (2) you can hire a caregiver to come to your house during preferred hours. The first option will require a lot of thought and consideration about what is best for your loved one. The second option may be slightly cheaper, and it will give you some free time during the day to do the things you would like to do but not necessarily in your home.
(3) Finances: If you have not discovered this by now, you will certainly realize that caregiving and caring for your loved one is expensive. This is why it is important to look into free resources in your area, recruit the help of friends and family members, and see what kind of health benefits your loved one’s insurance plan can provide.
(4) Loneliness: When you are a caregiver, you may find yourself super busy and unable to connect with friends and family as often. As a result, you become isolated. To beat this, make an effort to incorporate social time in your schedule. If possible, try to ask a family member to help you one day, so you can give yourself some free time to manage your social life. Socializing is not necessarily a luxury. It has profound benefits for your mental and emotional health, so it is important to give it priority.
(5) Lack of Sleep: When you are stressed and busy, you may find that your sleeping patters are being impacted. This is a common but very serious symptom of being a family caregiver. Sleep is essential for many aspects of your health, like immune function, weight regulation, and emotional/mental health. Be sure that you are setting a normal bedtime every day, and try to ensure that you “wind down” before you sleep by relaxing and avoiding bright screens (from TVs, phones, computers). This is easier said than done, but as long as you are aware of these potential risks to your sleep, then that is the first step toward healthy sleeping habits.
If you have any other questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.