Caregiving is rewarding. Being there when your loved one needs you is a core value and it’s something that most people wish to provide. However, a shift in emotions and roles is always certain. Caring for a loved one can strain even the most patient and resilient people—whether you’re taking care of a disabled child, an elderly parent, or an ill partner.
Eventually, your struggles and negative emotions will accumulate, and you’ll experience caregiver stress, which can be detrimental to your overall health. With that said, this article would discuss some expert advice and tips on how to ease your struggles and stress when providing care.
1. Learn Some Caregiving Hacks
In caregiving, new challenges tend to pop up from time to time. However, recurring issues and activities tend to cause the most stress for caregivers.
With that said, you may want to learn some hacks that can help you better tackle recurring activities and streamline your daily tasks. From stacking up on cleaning wipes to utilizing automation tools, you can check them here to help at least reduce your everyday struggles and strain.
2. Be Organized
Caregivers are keepers of all information—meal plans, doctor appointments, med lists, and more. With that said, you want to make sure that you stay organized. Creating an organized work environment allows you to get more done while reducing stress caused by confusion and clutter.
To make it easier, devote a specific area to your home to manage your loved one’s schedule. You can use a whiteboard to list daily to-dos and reminders. Consider hanging a large calendar to track any routine trips or time-sensitive engagements.
Invest in an accordion-style organizer to keep critical legal and medical records in order and provide easy access. You can also get a notebook to list down what the doctor says and have a list of concerns and questions.
Staying organized can help your daily responsibilities to become more manageable and less overwhelming. It also ensures that you’re always prepared for possible emergencies.
3. Accept Limitations And Set Boundaries
Human beings all have limitations. And for caregivers, learning to accept those can help ease your struggles and prevent stress. Learn to differentiate between the things you can and can’t change. For instance, you can’t control someone else’s behavior, but you have control over how you react to it.
Avoid dwelling on things that you can’t change such as your loved one’s health issues. Instead, you need to focus more on how you can provide better care to keep them content and comfortable.
In addition to accepting your limitations, you also need to set boundaries. Saying no to obligations and requests can be difficult at first. However, it’s important to prioritize yourself—your time, energy, money, and peace, among others. Don’t try to accommodate everyone else’s requests and meet their expectations. Say no to unnecessary, insensitive, and unrealistic demands.
4. Accept Help
Once you learn how to accept limitations, it’s easier to accept help as you can’t do everything on your own. In general, your family members may be keen to provide help to ease your burdens. Allow them to do so.
You can prepare a list of ways that other people can help you with, then let them choose what they’d like to do. For instance, your partner may offer to take your aging parent to a walk a couple of times a week. Your kids can run an errand such as cooking or doing house chores. Just make sure to guide them, especially kids who want to pitch in and share the responsibility.
5. Try Respite Care
Leaving your loved one in someone else’s care can be difficult. However, taking a week or two of breaks after months of stress can be one of the best things to do not only for yourself but also for the person you’re caring for.
With this, respite care is a good option. It’s a short-term care service, usually 1-2 weeks, for your loved one. Most communities have some kind of respite care available, so check your local social worker about programs in your area.
The physical and emotional demands involved with caregiving can strain even the most resilient person. Thus, it’s important to always take advantage of the many tools, resources, and tips available to not only help your loved one but also yourself to cope up with the stress. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to care for anyone else. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you plan and prepare.