10 Helpful Tips From Fellow Caregivers
Caregiving is no easy job. Days can be long, stressful, upsetting, frustrating – you name the emotion and a caregiver has probably experienced it at some point. That’s why it is important for home caregivers and assisted living care givers to keep in mind as many helpful tips from other caregivers going through similar experiences as them. Here are just a handful of tips from one caregiver to the other that can keep you from becoming too overwhelmed on the job.
1) Make time for yourself
It may seem like an impossible task, but making time for yourself should be just as much of a priority as making time for your care receiver. If you don’t you run the risk of completely losing your independence and sense of self. Everyone needs time for themselves. How that time is spent is up to the individual, but it must be for you and no one else. Don’t think of it as being selfish; rather, think of it as a way to maintain your energy in order to better serve those around you who need it too.
2) Be patient
Patience is a vital part of being a caregiver. Often tasks will be mundane, tedious and frustrating. Whether you work as a home health aide or in hospice care, it is important to recognize that you are someone’s caregiver for a reason and most likely one of those reasons is that person is unable to complete or do certain tasks with the efficiency or pace of a more able person. The tip here is to learn to recognize when your patience is running low and when that happens, what are you able to do to better practice patience? Learn about yourself and how you function.
3) Join a support group
We all learn from each other. Just like anything that is difficult, there are always others who are experiencing the same frustrations, strains, etcetera. For this, support groups can be fabulous ways to share your own concerns and feel supported and in turn listen to others and offer your own support and sympathy to them. Realizing you are not alone in the struggles you face with this job can be empowering steps in making the tasks at hand seem that much more doable.
4) Don’t lose your humor
It is true that often smiles and laughter are the best kind of medicine. Even in difficult situations when the care receiver may be sick, struggling and suffering, it is important to not let things become too dark. Smiling and laughing reduce stress and automatically brighten the mood!
5) Take it one step at a time
With so many tasks at hand, it can be difficult to slow down and break things down to make everything more manageable. But it is important to realize that some things take more time than others and if you try to do it all at once, things get messy. It is better to take your time and get things done well than get as many things done at once.
6) Be realistic
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Take a breath, step back and look at what you can realistically accomplish. You may feel like you should be able to do everything with the most ideal outcomes, but the reality is you are only human. And one human at that! It isn’t fair for you or anyone else to put unrealistic expectations on you. It will only lead to disappointment!
7) Stay organized
It is already hard enough to keep your own life organized, let alone someone else’s. This is especially true for caregivers who often need to keep track of various doctor’s appointments, notes, prescriptions, schedules, and more. For these things, keep a binder, daytimer, or invest in some mobile apps to keep your life and your patients from falling to pieces.
8) Take things with a grain of salt
This is an especially useful tip for caregivers caring for terminally ill patients or patients taking personality altering medication. Caregivers are humans too and have feelings and emotions that can be hurt. It is important to remember that these patients may say or do things they wouldn’t otherwise. In these cases, keep in mind that it shouldn’t be taken personally.
9) Show your love
While keeping your care receiver healthy is a priority, it is also important to show them love and support. This could be as simple as giving them a hug or getting them something for their birthday. Getting things done is important but don’t get too caught up in just the tasks. True caring is emotional as well. And if you show love, you will receive it in return!
10) Ask for help
While you of course responsible for your job, realize it is a lot of work and sometimes trying to do it all by yourself won’t get the job done in the best way possible. So like anything else, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you are not suited to do your job on your own. It again means you are human and sometimes you just can’t simply do it all.