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You aren’t prepared for it and probably won’t even identify yourself as a caregiver.
Being thrust into the role of caregiver without any preparation is difficult in any circumstances, and it is essential to take care of yourself as much as you take care of others.
Make It A Team Effort
If possible, caregiving for a family member should be a team effort. It’s a lot for one person to take on alone.
Try to include close friends and family members, and together, come up with the plan where everyone contributes to your loved one’s care.
Make sure your loved one has proper medical coverage too. This will come invaluable with little things like prescription drugs, vision care and small health care checkups like dental treatments.
Supplement plans like this can not only help in emergencies but also reduces stress.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, self-care is an integral part of being a caregiver. If you can’t take care of your own needs, how can you provide adequate care to anyone else?
Self-care not only helps reduce stress but also gives you the strength to cope with the high demands of this job.
Caregivers who practice self-care are less likely to take up bad habits like drugs or alcohol. When you are a caregiver, you are more likely to get overwhelmed and burnt out and turn to bad habits to cope.
Instead, there are services like meals on wheels or adult day care programs that can ease some of your stress. While grandma is off having fun at her adult daycare program, you can take that time to focus on yourself.
Finding the right respite care early will help in emergencies too. Your loved one will be much more receptive to joining care groups after an incident if they’ve previously attended. It’s best to just get them in the habit so they are comfortable when emergencies arise and you can not care for them at that particular moment.
Creating Strategies For Your Everyday Self Care Routine
Taking time for self-care and following your caregiver routine is hard. The easiest way is to incorporate self-care into your daily caregiver routine.
For example, when going grocery shopping, make them come with you. This way you can accomplish a chore, and they get in some good healthy exercise.
Putting self-care above everything else is not a selfish act; instead, it makes you healthier, happier, more productive, and better at caring for others.
Look into Adult Day Care Services
When we talked about programs like adult day care, it might have raised a few questions.
What is an adult day care program? What kind of care does an adult daycare provider give? Is medical care covered? What about the cost of food and transportation?
Here are a few answers to those kinds of questions:
Adult daycare centers should provide several different meal plan options based on your loved one’s specific needs.
Not only will your loved one be able to enjoy fun social gatherings and exercise, but they’ll also have plenty of time to relax too. Things like to napping, listening to music, or watching movies can also be done at their leisure.
Most people love the socializing aspect of adult daycare. They get to meet from all walks of life and chat about their experiences.
On-site there will be doctors and nurses to attend to any medical need that arises. They will have full knowledge of your loved one’s specific health concerns and conditions.
Time will be set aside so your loved one can attend any needed therapies like speech, occupational, or physical therapy.
Many adult day care centers provide transportation to and from doctor appointments.
A lot of older adults enjoy getting groomed and pampered by a professional stylist. Many adult daycares offer this luxury on-site.
Consider Adult Daycare Centers
One of the best ways to take care of yourself while taking care of someone else is by getting help from a senior adult daycare center. There they will be looked after by professionals so you can feel confident about taking in some me-time.
And even if you decide not to go with an adult day care center, you’ve got to take care of yourself regardless. Remember, only a happy and healthy caregiver can care for someone else!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.