When the time comes when our parent or loved one struggles to live on their own, the task of caring for them sometimes falls to us. However, being a caregiver can be stressful and strenuous, and can lead to caregiver fatigue if not averted.
Let’s take a look at the different ways family caregivers can protect themselves from burnout when supporting a friend or loved one.
Give Yourself Breaks Throughout the Day
Taking care of a loved one is a full-time job with plenty of challenges that can occupy your time throughout the day. But just like a full-time job, regular breaks are crucial for keeping yourself focused and capable of doing the work well.
Whether it’s little breaks throughout the day or a larger break once or twice, set aside specific times where you can step away from all the stress. Remember, taking care of a loved one is important, but taking care of yourself is equally critical. If your tank is running on empty, you really can’t operate effectively.
Find a Support Group to Express Yourself
While taking care of a parent or loved one, especially if you have a parent who is stubborn or set in their ways, you can develop a lot of negative feelings and frustrations over time. Now, while these negative feelings are understandable and you shouldn’t feel guilty, you do need to find a healthy way to express them before they affect your day-to-day. Take a look in your community and see if there is a support group for family caregivers where you can vent your feelings and frustrations in a healthy environment with understanding friends.
Organize Your Day
Between different times for medications, traveling to doctors’ appointments, cooking meals, and balancing your own personal schedule, the demands and pressures of being a family caregiver can overwhelm anyone. To avoid getting swallowed by all of these different tasks, try sitting down and laying out all of your tasks and needs on a calendar. This will prevent you from forgetting any important appointments and remove that terrible feeling of having forgotten something crucial.
Understand That You’re Doing Your Best
Family members taking care of their loved ones need to realize that they are not one-person clinics. They are not nursing professionals and do not have years of experience to fall back on. You are doing a generous and beautiful thing when you take on the responsibility of a loved one’s health and need to realize it is not up to you to cure their disease. All you have to do is your best and that is more than enough.
It’s no stretch to say that family caregivers are true unsung heroes. Not only are you not being paid for your efforts, but it is a challenge that you can’t walk away from at the end of a work day. We salute all the family caregivers working hard today and every day.
If you or a loved one is in need of additional help when caring for a family member, give our compassionate staff a call today at (434) 964-3897 or visit us online and see how our expertise at Park Street Senior Living can help you give your loved one the care and attention they need.