One of the most stressful unpaid jobs in the world is being a caregiver to a loved one. This job can take a personal toll not only on you and your mental and physical wellbeing, but it can also do unfortunate damage to the relationship you have with the person you are caring for and others around you. That is why it is so important to remember these tips to help make caregiving a little easier on you.
- Do research. The old cliché that “knowledge is power” definitely comes into play here. Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s disease so that you can assist them in any way possible. Speak to his or her physician to find out the best way to assist them in this process. But also research about social and community services in your area. There are many programs set up to provide assistance to individuals in this situation and it makes sense to take advantage of these.
- Take time for yourself. Too often, caregivers feel as if they are spending every waking moment with their loved one taking care of his or her needs to the neglect of their own. That is why it is so important to schedule some regular “me time” when you can do something you love like exercise, read, crochet, or just get out and shop. Finding a hobby is essential to keeping a balance on your mental wellbeing.
- Stock up on supplies. One of the best ways to make caregiving easier is to keep a good quantity of supplies of hand to help take care of a loved one. One excellent way to do this is with a reputable online medical supply store that is knowledgeable and well stocked in the supplies you need. Other things to look for in a supply company include free shipping and a phone number where you can ask questions of a live operator.
- Be attentive. Many times, it may be hard for your loved one to communicate his or her needs to you. They may either not be able to physically speak the words or they may be too embarrassed to speak with you about what they need. That is why it is so important to be attentive to non-verbal cues from them. Remember that they are human and try to avoid the natural frustration that you may feel because of this lack of communication. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think about how you might respond in a similar situation.
- Be personable. Even though this is a loved one you are dealing with, it is often times easy to see the task of caregiving as a job or duty. Remember why you care for this person and show that care in other ways. Give them hugs. Do things to show them that you care in other, non-medical ways. This will show them that they are still your loved one and not just a patient.