“Caregiving can have a lot of rewards. But the shift of roles and feelings is almost certain.”
The caregiver is someone who provides assistance to another person who needs it, including a sick spouse or partner, a disadvantaged child or an older parent. However, family members who are constantly caring for an older person often do not self-identify as “caregivers.” Knowing this role can help caregivers to receive the help they need.
Caregiving is valuable but stressful
Caregiving can have a lot of rewards. For most caregivers, to be there when an adored one needs you is a top priority and something you want to do.
But the shift of roles and feelings is almost certain. It’s normal to feel angry, irritated, tired, alone, or tragic. Caregiver stress—the physical and emotional stress of caring—is common.
People experiencing stress may be vulnerable to variations in their own health. Risk elements for the caregiver’s stress include: living with the person you are caring for.
- Social exclusion.
- To have depression.
- Financial difficulties.
- Greater number of hours spent on care.
- Lack of coping skills and problem-solving difficulties.
- There’s no choice in being a caregiver.
Strategies to address the stress of caregivers
Even the most flexible person can be strained by the emotional and physical requirements involved in caring. That’s why it’s so helpful to be aware of the many resources and tools ready to support you take care of your loved one. Understand, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
- ACCEPT HELP
Be prepared with a list of areas others might help you, and let the helper choose what he or she would want to do. For example, a friend may ask to take the person on a walk a couple of times a week. Or a friend or family member may be able to run an errand, pick up a grocery store or prepare food for you.
- Focus on what you can deliver
Sometimes it’s natural to feel guilty, but understand that nobody is a “perfect” caregiver. Believe that you’re doing the best you can and making the best choices you can at any given time.
- Set realistic targets
Split tasks into smaller steps that you can take one at a time. Identify, make lists, and set up a daily routine. Start saying no to requests that are tiring, such as organizing family meals.
- Get in touch.
Find out about your community’s care-giving resources. Many communities have courses specifically about the disease that your loved one is experiencing. Care services such as transport, food delivery, or house cleaning may be accessible.
- Join a support group
The support group may provide validation and guidance, and also problem-solving techniques for tough circumstances. People in support groups understand what you’re going through. A support group can also be a good place to build good connections.
- Look for social support
Make an effort to remain well-connected with loved ones who can provide non-judgmental help and support. Take some time each week to connect, even if it’s just a walk with a friend.
You’re not alone
If you’re like a lot of caregivers, you’ve got a hard time asking for help. Unfortunately, this behavior can lead to a feeling of isolation, frustration, and even depression.
Instead of struggling on your own, take advantage of the local resources for caregivers.