Caregiving Tips for Family Caregivers
According to the AARP, nearly 19 percent of adults in the United States act as unpaid caregivers to older adults in their life. And of those caring for a loved one, more than 61 percent are trying to balance a full-time job. The life of a family caregiver is sometimes a necessity, but there are steps you can take to learn the ins and outs of caregiving to help prepare you as you take on a caregiving role in your family.
Tips for Caring for a Loved One
There are a lot of moving parts to being a family caregiver. If you're new to caregiving, consider the following as you enter your new role.
If your loved one has a health condition, do your best to learn as much as possible to help inform your care. A basic understanding of common conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes can help you provide better care for your loved one. Talk to your loved ones about their health, and speak with their doctor to learn about their symptoms. You can also learn about your loved one's condition online through reputable sources such as the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Communicate with your loved one
When caring for a loved one, remember that your loved one is an adult who deserves to be consulted about their care. In some cases, you may need to make executive decisions, especially if your loved one has a cognitive impairment, but make an effort to include your loved one in the decision-making process. Ask them questions to learn what kind of help they need. Ask for their opinion on how they like things done around the house. Communicate with them regularly and let them know their ideas and feelings matter.
As a family caregiver, you may find yourself responsible for different aspects of your loved one's life, such as financial and medical records. Find an organization system that works for you, so you have easy access to all your loved one's important documents such as social security cards, birth certificates, tax information, and more.
Tips for Caring for Yourself
When you're spending a significant amount of time caring for someone else, it can be easy to forget to care for yourself. But spending time on yourself will only improve the quality of care you can give to your loved one.
Take time for yourself
You may feel like you need to be available to your loved one every moment, but don't forget to take time for yourself. Make sure you're setting aside time each day to relax and enjoy your hobbies. Also, make sure you're giving yourself time to work and attend to your personal life. Caring for a loved one is important, but it doesn't have to be your entire identity.
Find ways to manage stress
It's common to feel stressed while caring for a loved one, but don't let your stress grow to a point where it prevents you from living a happy and healthy life. Keep your stress at bay by finding ways to manage your daily stress. You can try exercising, meditation or deep breathing exercises throughout the day to help you stay calm. Also, make sure you're eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep to reduce your overall stress levels.
Ask for help
Caring for a loved one can feel overwhelming, especially when balancing your career and personal life. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to other family members or friends to find ways for them to contribute to your loved one's care. If you don't have relatives who can help, consider hiring a part-time or respite caregiver from a trusted agency such as Visiting Angels.
How Visiting Angels Can Help
If you're the primary caregiver for a loved one, services are available to help ease some of your responsibilities. At Visiting Angels Marietta, Georgia, we offer part-time, full-time, and respite care to assist families who need help caring for a loved one. Our caregivers can help seniors with light housekeeping, personal grooming, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, and more.
Our Marietta office serves those in Marietta and Smyrna, Georgia. If you'd like to learn more about our services, you can schedule a complimentary consultation by completing this online form or calling 770.709.6884.