Caring for Yourself While Being a Caregiver
You don’t always plan on taking control of the care for a loved one, in many cases it can happen in the blink of an eye. There’s no question that you would do everything possible for your spouse, parent, or child to make sure they get the care they need, but don’t forget about yourself in the process.
Below are several ways to help take the added stress off as a caregiver, if even for a brief time.
Ease your mind – Leaving the house for work or even errands can be a worrisome activity. What if something happens while you’re out to you or your loved one? With a medical ID you can engrave your contact information for your loved one to wear and on an ID for you to wear you can engrave information stating you are a caregiver. This will give emergency personnel the resources needed to make sure that everyone is informed and receives the care they need.
Example: Liz, do you have an image of AMID jewelry with caregiver information engraved?
Ask for help – If you have friends and family stopping by and asking if they can assist in some way, do not feel bad taking them up on their offer. Keep a list on the fridge of things that need to be done, such as, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. When someone asks if there is something they can do for you use the list so they can pick which item they can do and one less thing is on your to-do list. There are also many organizations out there that provide a variety of levels of assistance.
Take time for yourself – Many times when taking on the responsibilities of caring for someone else the first thing to go is your relaxation time. Take at least 20 minutes to do something that relaxes you and you love, whether it be going for a run, reading a book, or even just sitting in a dark room. It is important to take time for yourself to avoid getting run down.
Find support – You are not the only one going through this, the AARP reports that over 44 million Americans are caregivers for a loved one. Find a support group either locally or online based to help answer the questions you face and let you know what to expect. Having that group to lean on can significantly decrease the stress of wondering what to do next. Today’s Caregiver is a bi-monthly magazine and online resource for the large population taking care of their loved ones and a place to start looking for support.
If you are a caregiver, what are some ways you keep from getting overwhelmed?