Family caregivers take on an amazing responsibility when they agree to help their elderly relative. With age and illness, many seniors simply cannot live on their own and manage the daily tasks they must to be safe, healthy, and happy. Family caregivers often step in to ease the struggles of their aging loved one, but unknowingly introduce a number of challenges into their own lives. So how can family caregivers deal with the stress that is a big part of taking care of an older adult?
Acknowledge Negative Feelings.
One of the most difficult things to master about being a family caregiver is the intense feelings that can manifest. On the one hand, caregivers are pleased when giving aid to a family member. However, there is also guilt and frustration in continually providing that care. Intense emotions can push a family caregiver to emotional highs and lows. It’s helpful to acknowledge negative feelings and recognize how they create tension within.
Create a Schedule.
Sometimes, family caregivers and their aging relatives go through the day or week simply reacting to events. This can lead to little free time for caregivers and little structure for seniors. The best thing to do is to create a schedule that covers all the basics, like errands, appointments, and even when to have meals. That way, both sides know what to expect and when they can make plans.
Chances are, family caregivers haven’t ever provided care for an elderly person before. Educating themselves on their relative’s medical conditions and chronic illnesses can help them know what to do. They can also provide better care when they know the way the illness works and what treatments do. Asking doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, home care assistants, and anyone else about their loved one’s health will help them care and advocate for their elderly relative.
Recognize Danger Signs of Burnout.
Family caregivers should recognize the signs of stress and depression, so they can take steps to alleviate it in themselves and others. Symptoms of stress include insomnia, low energy, headaches, digestive issues, chest pain, and mood swings. With depression, symptoms include apathy, changes in appetite or sleep, low self-esteem, social isolation, and thoughts of self-harm. If family caregivers notice some of these symptoms in themselves or their elderly loved one, it’s time to see a doctor and perhaps a therapist.
Get Help With Caregiving Duties.
The biggest struggle that most family caregivers deal with is that they rarely get a break. It’s important that they take time for themselves and engage in fun activities to reconnect with others. However, it can be very difficult to find someone to fill in. Many families hire home care assistants to come on a regular basis to provide care and services to the elderly adult. This gives family caregivers regularly scheduled time for themselves and their personal interests.
Family caregivers can avoid some of the more common struggles that come with taking care of an elderly relative. With knowledge, balance, home care assistance, and more, family caregivers can take excellent care of their loved one as well as themselves.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional caregiver services in Trussville, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.
They have three teenage children and are actively involved in their church and community – both teach high school Sunday school while Dennis coaches youth sports and Kelly leads a women’s Bible study. Dennis & Kelly personally manage the daily activities of the company.
It is their passion and commitment to providing quality and responsive service that has made their company the fastest growing home care agency in Birmingham.
They believe that being an independently owned and operated company gives them the flexibility to manage their business in a way that better serves their clients.
They understand you have a choice in care providers and they will do their utmost to earn your trust.