If you’ve ever been a caregiver, you know how challenging it can be. The emotional toll is significant, and the physical demands are often overwhelming. But there’s one thing even more difficult than caring for an ill, elderly, or disabled person — caring for them when you yourself feel ill-equipped to handle their care.
If you feel as though you do not have enough knowledge or skills regarding how to handle your loved one’s condition, a good first step is to research their ailment or disability. Compile a list of reliable articles or books about their condition. As you become better educated on the subject matter, you will be better equipped to help them. Another important area to research is any medications they are currently on or may potentially use. Investigating what each drug does, how it affects your personal or possible side effects/interactions can be a crucial component to your caregiving. Learn about any possible therapies that may help your loved one improve or maintain their current condition or their quality of life.
Get A Plan
What happens if you as the caregiver get sick or injured? What if you require extended hospitalization? Many caregivers become so consumed with caring for their family members that they themselves neglect their own personal care and don’t consider the consequences of this. It should go without saying that maintaining doctor’s appointments, proper diet, exercise, and lowering stress is equally as important for you as it is for any member of your family. But, even in the best of circumstances, accidents and unavoidable illness happen and there needs to be a plan for the “What-If’s”. Identify people who are ready and able to jump into your caregiving role in the event the unexpected happens. Gather important documents, a list of emergency contacts, and other pertinent and necessary information pertaining to your loved one and their care and keep it in a location where it can be accessed. If your family member needs extensive or specialized care, maintaining a list of already vetted home health care companies that can be called upon to help out.
Caregiving is a roller coaster with so many unforeseen twists and turns and highs and lows. Many despite their best efforts can become burnt out quickly after being placed into this new life role and then begin to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to lose yourself in the shuffle between managing meds, chauffeuring to yet another doctor’s appointment, or even just being in the presence of one whose health or mental state is declining. Review this list to determine if you are beginning to experience the symptoms of caregiver burnout. If these signs resonate with you, seek help as soon as possible before the situation becomes critical. Seeking help is not a weakness, nor does it indicate that you are an in-efficient caregiver. Your mental and physical well-being is crucial to you being able to give the best care to not only your loved one in need but also the rest of your family. Care Right can work virtually with you and your family members to help research care options in your area, assist with developing a care plan, or providing counseling or coaching for everything from family disputes to dementia. Being proactive and getting the help you need before life gets out of hand will bring balance and relieve stress before it becomes unmanageable. Check out our list of services here or book a free 30-minute call to learn how we can help.