This past year, it seems that more of us have turned into caregivers than ever before. However, as I’m sure you’ve realized if you are one of them, burnout is common for caregivers. It can be very tough work and extremely stressful, so you need to pace yourself and make sure you are prepared for it. To ensure that you can keep up with the demands and don’t burn out, here are a few practical tips to reduce stress for both you and your loved one.
Understand How Much Care Is Needed
In caregiving, it is sometimes a bit difficult to see the situation for what it is while you’re in the middle of it. It’s easy to miss the overall picture when you allow yourself to get overwhelmed with what caregiving involves.
Make a quick note whenever you or someone else helps your elderly family member with something. After about a week, you will have a good idea of what they need help with and at what time of day these things are typically required. Do this for about a month. Being on top of things in this way will make transitioning into a more care-giving-orientated lifestyle easier for both you and your loved ones.
Making a list of daily, weekly, and monthly care needs will also help you to see exactly how much help they will need and if you can provide them with adequate care, or if you need outside help.
Be Realistic About How Much Care You Can Provide
Now that you have a list of their typical needs, you can figure out if this is something you can do without assistance. It is unfair to both of you (and the rest of your family) if you cannot give them adequate care but still insist on doing it. Over-extending yourself will result in burnout and ultimately leave you unable to care for anyone. Instead, be proactive and find out how to get the help you both need.
Get Some Help
You might need help with a few little things, and you might need help with many things. Having a list of their needs makes it a whole lot easier to ascertain where they fall on the scale of needs. There are a bunch of different things you can do to get help. Here are a few options:
An Adult Day Program
Adult day programs are designed to help the elderly socialize and give them purpose during the day.
Senior Companion Programs
A senior volunteer companion is there to fill in some of the gaps. They can help with things like shopping or just being friends for your loved one to talk to.
Get Meal Delivery
For their convenience, sign them up for meal delivery. This will reduce the number of meals you and they need to make.
Some companies offer an array of home care packages depending on your loved one’s individual needs. Specialists at arcare.com.au give different options of home care and residential care. They are a great place to look for assistance, as they use a Relationship-First Approach for the best experience possible.
Ask Family or Close Friends to Help
Family and friends can help run errands and do some light housework.
Help Them Feel Useful and Needed
Everyone likes to feel needed and to be useful. Do your best to make your elderly loved ones feel like you still need them and that they are not a burden. Even if your loved one cannot complete tasks perfectly or efficiently, let them contribute. Ask for help with things you know they can handle. These can be things like dinner prep, laundry, assisting with grocery shopping, and other errands.
Encourage Mental and Physical Activity
Regular physical activity helps keep both body and mind feeling good. It helps with balanced and positive thinking. Exercise can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, improve heart health, relieve anxiety, improve strength and stamina, and much more.
The mind is a muscle and should also be exercised regularly. Crosswords, reading, writing, brain games like Sudoku, and more are great activities to stimulate the mind. Being mentally sharp and active can improve overall well-being.
Help Them Stay Connected
The elderly who are isolated and alone have shorter lives and run a greater risk of developing dementia; that’s why you need to help your loved ones stay connected with family, friends, and their community.
Combat this by encouraging them to attend celebrations, arranging for family friends to visit, regularly taking them out, encouraging them to volunteer, and even inspiring them to get involved in a new or old hobby.
Aging is inevitable, and everyone will need help at some point. So, make sure that you provide them with enough care and love because it’s crucial for their mental health and physical state. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and instead enjoy the time you spend with seniors because there is a lot that you can learn from them.