With the changes in governmental programs and the health care system the need for more care given by non-professional care givers will be a reality. Even if you are a strong resilient person, the stress of being a caregiver can take a toll on your health and well-being. Stress management techniques will be an important part of your daily routine.
Some of the signs of stress that you may not even notice because you are concerned about those you are caring for are:
- tired all the time
- overwhelmed and irritable
- either sleeping too much or not enough
- losing or gaining weight
- loss of interest in activities
There are a variety of things that can help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver. If someone is willing to help, accept the offer. If they want to pick up some groceries, cook for you, stay with the person you are caring for or even take them for a walk, allow them to provide help. It will be a wonderful way to give you a break.
As a caretaker, it is normal to feel guilty about many things. Focus on those things you can control and remind yourself that you are doing the best you are capable of. No one is perfect. If you recognize a need for help, you will want to seek it out. There are many organizations, associations and support groups to help with specific ailments. These affiliations can offer encouragement and advice.
You will want to make time for yourself. Get out and socialize with friends and family members. It is important to maintain a strong support system to help manage the stress associated with being a caregiver. It’s also important to stay healthy. Walking, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are all things that promote good health.
Utilize respite care. Respite care found at a nursing home, such as Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, has become a great option for both the one receiving care and the caretaker. Though families take great joy in allowing their loved one to remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial strain for the caregiver can be overwhelming. The family may choose to have their loved one stay at a nursing home where emergency access and professional assistance is provided for a few day or a few weeks. It allows the caregiver to get a break, go on a much needed vacation or attend a function that would normally restrict them from attending.
Taking time for yourself actually makes you a better caregiver. It’s hard for you to provide quality care for others if you are not caring for yourself.