Ways to Avoid Caregiver Stress

October 11, 2017

It’s a fact that when you care for someone else your own health and well-being may suffer. Your focus is on them, not you. Sadly, the one who is doing the caring may even predecease the one receiving care. Here are some ways to avoid caregiver burnout

  • Stay positive. It sounds trite, but it helps. Take pleasure and pride in the small accomplishments. Maybe you found a new activity for dad, or a better way to execute a transfer. Give yourself a pat on the back. Everything you do helps your loved one stay safer.
  • Let go of perfection. Caregiving is a long road that usually ends with the passing of your loved one. Be prepared for that eventuality. You might have been a successful executive in your prior life where everything was done 110%. In your role as caregiver, just getting from one day to the next with your loved one safe may be sufficient accomplishment.
  • Care for yourself. While it’s not easy to do, make the best effort to include time for yourself. Go to the gym, get a massage, see a movie with a friend. Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Be realistic. Set reasonable expectations about the illness that your loved one has, its progression, and how that changes their needs. Certain illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s grow more severe as time goes on.
  • Get help when you need it. Don’t be embarrassed to accept assistance. Ask friends to help, or perhaps get a respite caregiver for when you need a break.
  • Talk about it. Sit down with someone you trust to discuss how you are feeling. It helps to share  frustrations with a friend, co-worker, or neighbor.
  • Get professional help. There is no shame in calling a professional. Therapists, social workers and clergy members are trained to listen and offer guidance on a wide range of physical and emotional issues.

 

 

 

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