10 Essential Tips for Caregivers

Caring for a loved one or employer should not make you forget about taking care of yourself daily. Caregivers have a stressful strenuous rewarding job that seems to go on forever. Having help and support, while taking care of yourself will make you a better caregiver and allow you to be a better caregiver for your loved one. A few tips will help you become the caregiver you want to be.

Signs of Dealing with Stress

Many caregivers get into the habit of worrying more about their loved one and letting their own health, needs and thoughts go out the window. When you focus on just one person other than yourself, worry about everything you are doing, what is happening to them and have other forms of pressure you may have anxiety and stress without even noticing the warning signs that something is wrong. Signs of stress that you need to watch for include the feeling of tiredness or overwhelmed feelings most of the time. A change in sleeping habits or a change in your weight can be a sign that you are stressed out. Additionally losing interest in any other outside activities or hobbies you had is a key sign of stress. The rest of these tips are about how to deal and reduce the stress a caregiver may be going through.

Asking and Accepting Help

If you are feeling overwhelmed with caregiving do not be afraid to ask other people for help. Have a list wrote out of stuff that you feel comfortable having other people take care of. This list may include stuff such as chores, errands, meals or even letting you get some time to yourself while they care for your loved one for an hour.

Take Breaks

A caregiver should always have some time to himself or herself every day. A good rule of thumb for a caregiver is to get at least an hour a day away from the cared loved one. This gives the caregiver time to relax for a few and follow some of their own hobbies and interests or exercise while letting their mind recuperate.

Respite Care

Having respite care is a great opportunity for caregivers. This allows the caregiver a few hours off every day or every few days to take care of them. A relaxed caregiver is a happy caregiver. Insurance often covers the cost of an experienced respite caregiver saving the family time, stress and money. If you worry about leaving your loved one with someone else, make a detailed chart detailing the schedule of what needs to be done and if any medications are needed.

Support Groups

Support groups can offer advice and encouragement to a caregiver. They have all been in the same situation the caregiver is in and know how you feel when you want to vent or ask a question. Support groups are also a good place to meet new people and make friends that understand what you are going through.

Connections

Staying emotionally connected with friends and family will help reduce the stress a caregiver feels. Support groups can offer other social outlets and connections to finding experienced respite caregivers and opportunities for a caregiver to get help with errands and meals.

Set Personal Goals

Set goals for what you expect to do each week and a longer goal for a month ago or in a few months to a year from now. These goals could include more time to yourself, better health, and weight loss or even to learn a new hobby.

Education

Educating yourself about your loved ones condition and care can help relieve the stress of not knowing what is going to happen. Between doctors, books and online you should be able to find many resources explaining the situation going on and what to expect in the future.

Health

Your health as a caregiver is very important to your happiness and your loved one’s well-being. Caregivers are often stressed and busy throughout the day and part of the night lifting, moving, and twisting around to make sure their loved one is cared for, and everything else is done too. Make sure you exercise regularly, get fresh air every day, eat properly and relax. Routine doctor appointments are also a good goal to make to increase your health.

Pride and Rewards

Have pride in what you do, not everyone can handle the responsibility of being a caregiver to their loved one. Reward yourself with time away from your duties or something new each time you reach one of your goals.