Caring for a loved one can put a lot of stress on even the most peaceful people. We provide the steps to preserve your own health and well-being.
How to Make Time for Yourself
The elder population is rising in the united states making caregiving by family members opposed to health care professionals more common. The numbers are high with 1 in 3 adults in the United States caring for an adult as a caregiver.
Most family members don’t identify themselves as a caregiver, so they aren’t receiving the help they need. By realizing their role they can start using self-care habits to take care of themselves and lessen stress.
Remind Yourself, You’re Doing Your Best
There are many benefits to being a caregiver, such as providing love to someone who needs you. Although, it can be a natural feeling to be exhausted, frustrated, and lonely. Caregiving can put extreme emotional and physical stress on you.
The stress from caregiving can make you vulnerable to unhealthy changes in your life. These risk can include:
- Social isolation
- Financial difficulties
Signs of Stress
With so much attention and care going to your loved one you could forget about your own health and well-being. Be mindful of these signs for caregiver stress:
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
- Feeling tired often
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
- Gaining or losing weight
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad
- Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
Having stress for long periods of time can do major damage to your health. Your mental health can begin to suffer with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Be aware of getting enough sleep, physical activity, and eating a balanced diet. Not maintaining these things can lead to medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Helpful Coping Mechanisms
Caregiving comes with high emotional and physical demands, so it’s important to take advantage of the resources available for helping to provide care. Taking care of yourself should be the main priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
Your friends and family may be willing to help you. You can make a list of ways things they could do with your loved one. A friend could take them for a walk a couple days a week or someone could pick up groceries for them.
Do Your Best:
Your doing your best to provide care for your loved one, but sometimes we’re unable to do everything. Know that you’re doing the best you can and don’t make yourself feel guilty.
Set realistic caregiving goals for yourself and don’t take on too much to handle. Break large tasks into smaller steps to accomplish over time. Prioritize what’s important by making lists and creating a daily routine.
Discover the caregiving resources in your community, such as classes providing information on the disease your loved one may have. There are also caregiving services available for transportation, meal delivery, and housekeeping.
Join a support group that can provide encouragement and strategies for solving difficult situations. Other people can understand what you’re going through and can be a place to make meaningful friendships.
Remember to Ask for Help
If you’re like many caregivers, you have a hard time asking for help. Unfortunately, this attitude can lead to feeling isolated, frustrated and even depressed.
Rather than struggling on your own, take advantage of local resources for caregivers. To get started, check out the Eldercare Locator or contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to learn about services in your community. You can find your local AAA online or in the government section of your telephone directory.
Reno Valley Assisted Living and Retirement Community
Reno Valley is an assisted living and retirement community that makes living independently, while at the same time feeling safe and secure, a reality. We strive to provide the best quality of life for all residents including those suffering from loneliness and depression.
We offer a comprehensive activity program that includes both physical and social activities to encourage emotional well-being. Our staff is trained to assist those with depression. If you or a loved one are considering assisted living, contact Reno Valley today to learn more about our services or tour our community.