Life as a caregiver can feel rewarding but it also comes with some accompanying difficulties. The Consumer-directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) can help with the financial difficulties but fails to address the mental and physical health problems of a caregiver. The voluntary acts of care and kindness of a family caregiver can slowly decay their quality of life.
Disabled and ageing loved ones may feel cared for and looked after but the amount of time and work it demands from the caregiver can be exhaustive. So read ahead to find out some top tips to deal with the problem and be a healthy caregiver.
- Identify the signs of difficulty
In the initial months of caregiving, the caregiver may be at the top of his game. He might be optimistic about his duties and hopeful about the loved one’s recovery. The caregiver strives to scrape out time from his work or personal life for better caregiving. But with the passage of time, the caregiver’s enthusiasm may gradually begin to die out. The caregiving responsibilities that were once willingly taken up, may turn out to be a dreadful routine landing them in a situation of deadlock. The problem intensifies when the caregiver ignores self care, begins taking tranquilizers, has symptoms of chronic fatigue and body ache, and is unwilling to maintain communication with personal contacts. These above changes in behavior are signs of difficulty and need to be addressed as soon as possible!
- Ask for help
Once you are able to acknowledge the fact that you are experiencing difficulty, you can call your close contacts and revive the relationships. Your friend or extended family may feel good about you reaching out to them for help and may schedule a doctor’s appointment without much delay. When you meet the doctor or psychiatrist and open up about your lifestyle and caregiving responsibilities, they can prescribe you some nerve relaxants or antidepressants to deal with the caregiver burnout. The doctors can also recommend some exercises to deal with chronic pain and sleep problems. Tending to a loved one should not be at the cost of one’s own health.
- Get rid of the stress of unknown
The idiom “prevention is better than cure” is very applicable when it comes to your caregiving responsibilities. You can’t do the job in its full capacity if you don’t read up on your loved one’s illness, symptoms and preventive measures. Once you have knowledge, you have the power to work around the feelings and struggles of your loved one. Knowing the difficulties helps you to avoid the stress of the unknown.
- Keep in touch with your loved one’s doctor
Your loved one’s doctor knows best about the difficulties faced by his patient. Keep him on your “Favorites” contact list in case of emergencies and caregiving advice or suggestions.
- Take breaks from your caregiving responsibilities
Monotony can sometimes get on your nerves. Abiding by the same schedule for days, months or years can lead to sloppiness in the long run. As a caregiver, you can feel bound within the walls of your home and routine. You can’t take any chances with your productivity when dealing with a disabled or veteran family member. So before it makes you irritable and develop negative feelings for the loved one, you should take a break! Traveling is a great way to re-energize yourself as a caregiver. Your positive outlook on return can also give joy to the loved one.
As a primary caregiver you can’t dwell on things that are uncontrollable about your loved one’s condition. Follow the above tips and be kind to yourself!