The stress of being a family caregiver can take a big toll on your emotional and physical health. That doesn’t mean that you don’t want to be a caregiver or that you’re not capable, it just means that you’re human. What you really need is a plan that allows you to manage your stress effectively from the very beginning.
Do Your Best and Let it Go
Perfectionism can be a big problem for family caregivers. There’s a lot of self-imposed pressure involved in being a family caregiver, because you want everything to go exactly right for your elderly family member. But at some point you have to remember that you’re human and that you’re doing the best that you can in this moment. That’s a tough lesson to learn sometimes, but it will pay off.
Don’t Neglect Your Own Health
Something else that’s important is to acknowledge that you can’t be the family caregiver that you want to be if you’re neglecting your own health. Make sure that you’re getting to your own doctor’s appointments regularly. And if you’re not feeling well, don’t ignore what’s happening. Find out what’s going on as soon as possible and face whatever it is head on. That’s going to help you to stay strong and committed as a caregiver.
Take Respite Time Regularly
Respite time is a big part of being a family caregiver. Having time just for yourself so that you can focus on being you and not on being your senior’s caregiver for a little while. When you come back, you are in a better place to be able to face the challenges that come up when you’re a family caregiver.
Make Sure You’ve Got Help Lined Up
To take respite time regularly, you need help. If family members aren’t able to help, that doesn’t mean you’re left on your own. Home care providers are an excellent option and they can assist your senior with just about any situation that comes up. They can also help when your senior’s needs start to grow and become bigger than you can tackle on your own.
Find a way that is easy for you to check in with yourself on a regular basis. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling and what you need. When you do this regularly, you can spot problems before they become too big to resolve and it’s easier to implement answers that really help.
Excerpt: Being a family caregiver increases your stress levels, but there’s a lot that you can do about it.