Many caregivers end up ignoring their own health and needs because they are busy caring for others. Caregiver stress is one of the major reasons why family caregivers feel exhausted, depressed, or overwhelmed. Caregivers take on many tasks and those chores can range from shopping, homework, helping their loved ones with bathing, dressing, monitoring medicines and accompanying them for doctors’ appointments.
Women make up 60% of family caregivers and often compromise their career ambitions to be there for their loved ones. The ongoing pandemic has made caregiving more difficult due to physical distancing measures and extra precautions. COVID-19 has caused significant emotional, physical, and economic problems around the world. Caregivers can use all the support and help they can get.
Before you reach out to a caregiver, try to find out and identify what they need help with? Is it emotional support or some physical help? It could even be assisting them with few chores or to give their senior loved one some company so they can run some errands.
The following ideas can help alleviate or minimize caregiver stress:
Maintain a hobby:
Nurturing a hobby gives us something t look forward to. Enjoying what you do is crucial to mental well-being. It is important to have some interests outside the caregiving role, although it can be difficult to do. Whether you enjoy reading, hiking, painting, gardening, or painting, dedicate a little time to your hobbies to feel fresh and invigorated.
Choose easy dressing solutions:
Most caregivers have the daily task of dressing their senior loved ones. Dressing them can mean weight-bearing movements where you have to lift or move a loved one who can not stand on their own. With conventional clothing, these activities and chores can be difficult to manage. Weight-bearing can be harmful to a caregiver’s physical health and result in persistent aches and pains. Adaptive clothing provides the right solutions for a caregiver or a healthcare professional.
Adaptive clothing does not just cut dressing time in half, it provides a safe and reliable method of dressing your loved ones. Whether your elderly loved one is a nursing home or in a home care setting, easy dressing solutions can make a caregiver’s life easier. With open-back functionality on tops and dresses or back-open pants for wheelchair users, dressing can become much safer and convenient. If your loved one is suffering from arthritis, magnetic closures can provide independent dressing solutions.
Caregivers can often find it hard to accept help. They feel they can deal with it all and they often do! But some help goes a long way in maintaining mental and physical health. If your friends, family members or neighbors offer to help, consider their offer and coordinate with them. Letting them help you can make them feel better too. And on the contrary, if you are not getting an offer to help, do not be afraid to reach out and ask family members if they can contribute a few minutes or hours.
Staying connected with others can be very difficult for caregivers because of their hectic schedules. It is important to maintain relationships with other people, old friends, or your family friends. Maybe you know someone in your circle who is performing the same caregiver role as you. Reaching out and connecting with them can be helpful so you can exchange caregiving ideas or seek solutions for matters that seem difficult. Do you have a pet? Walking your dog every day can be beneficial, it will help you socialize with the neighbors and stay connected.
Practicing self-care can help you stay healthy or help you recover from exhaustion. Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally is vital. Are you so busy that you are unable to eat properly? Take a proactive approach and fix a healthy meal for yourself and store it. You can find some quick yet healthy mealtime ideas here. Self-care means getting enough sleep, eating properly, exercising, resting, and doing anything that helps you feel relaxed.
See your doctor:
Caregivers often ignore their own health. They may be taking their loved ones to the doctor or helping them with telemedicine appointments, but they rarely find time for their own self-care. As a caregiver if you are experiencing physical pains or discomfort of any kind, it is essential to ask your doctor the reasons and seek a solution. Your loved one may have experienced a fall and you may have helped them get up. These weight bearing duties can result in physical injuries or back pains that get worse with time. It is important to get help at the right time. Caregivers can book telemedicine appointments with their doctor or they can have a family member sit with their loved one while they go to the doctor.
It is also important to visit your doctor to get the necessary vaccinations and screenings. Make sure your doctor knows you are a caregiver so they can advise accordingly.
Do you have other ideas for caregivers that you would like to share with us? Are you looking for the perfect gift for a caregiver? Check out our blog post on Stress Relief Gifts for Family Caregivers here.