You can’t always be there. But we can.
Caregiving can feel incredibly complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. The most important thing to remember is that your senior needs you, which means you have to take care of yourself, too.
Embrace the Idea of Self-care
The idea that self-care is selfish is one that caregivers constantly have to battle. Even when you know that you need to take care of yourself, the urge to push yourself aside may sometimes feel too big for you to ignore. You are the one caring for your senior and if there’s no one caring for you, you’re going to have to be the one to step up. Embrace self-care and make it your biggest priority.
Reach out for Help from Others
Lots of times caregivers believe that there’s no help out there. It might be difficult to find at first, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t out there. Look for support groups and for groups that help older adults. There are programs for almost every need out there, but you have to find them, apply for them, and do whatever else they require so that you can get the help you need. The same is true with home care services. Find out what they can do for your senior and put together a plan.
When Help Is Offered, Accept It
Believe it or not, you might be receiving and passing up more offers of help than you realize. Lots of times people offer help vaguely, but in a well-intentioned manner. They really do mean that they want to help, even if they’re not sure how exactly to help. Take advantage of those offers when you get them because eventually people do stop offering to help.
As a caregiver you’re constantly learning and growing. There are changes that your elderly family member is going to go through and that is going to affect how you care for her. Keep up with the skills you need to be a caregiver so that you can keep meeting your senior’s needs. If you feel as if you’re lost, find a caregiver support group. The other caregivers can help you to learn what you need to know.
You absolutely need to have a plan in place to care for yourself as well as your senior. If you don’t, that’s going to keep you feeling as if you’re stretched too thin. Self-care is a vital part of your caregiving journey and it’s going to help you to be a better caregiver.