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Taking care of yourself as a caregiver

Updated on June 10, 2014

Caregiving is possibly the most difficult job out there. And, while you want to give the best care you can to your loved one, it can sometimes be difficult to find the patience or energy to do so. Putting your own needs into perspective is the key to keeping yourself and your loved one happy and healthy. It is very important that a caregiver knows the most effective ways to take care of themselves in addition to taking care of their family member of client.

Learn the best relaxing techniques

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Learn to Relax

Caregiving can be incredibly overwhelming for those who are in charge of providing constant care for someone else. When things get a little out of hand while tying to help your loved one, its important to remember to pause, and take a deep breath. It is important to have some methods you can use throughout the day to relax during stressful situations. Sometimes the easiest fix is simply to momentarily remove yourself from the situation and regroup. Even a small break can mean the difference between a stressful remainder of the day and an afternoon that goes smoothly. Although it can be quite difficult at times, taking a breath and returning to the situation with fresh eyes will make things easier for everyone.

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Make Time for You

One of the most difficult aspects of caregiving may be remembering that your well being is also a priority. In order to give the most effective care, it is vital that you are in the best physical and mental condition possible. Putting yourself first knowing that someone you love is in a tough situation is difficult, and can come with a lot of guilt. However, this situation is similar to what happens during an airplane issue. It is important that those who are able make sure that they are safe, and then they will be able to help those who are not able to help themselves. The same principle applies for caregivers. You need to make sure that you make time for yourself when you are providing care to others.

Making sure you have outlets to relieve stress and blow off steam will make you a happier and healthier person, and this will then transfer to your family member or elder care client. Don’t be afraid to do some things for yourself in order to break up the routine of caring for somebody other than yourself. Go shopping, go to the movies, meet with friends, or do what ever it is you need to make sure you are living a healthy and fulfilling life. When you come back to person you are providing care for, you will be happy, cheerful and relaxed. This will help you to be able to provide them with the most patient and providing version of yourself. Your cheerful and relaxed disposition may even rub off on them, or encourage them to be more involved with activities for themselves. All of this will be a huge boost to both the caregiver and the individual who is receiving the care service.

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More Senior Care Tips

Bring in Additional Help

Caregiving is a lot to handle, but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. One option is Asking friends and family for help if the care recipient is a family member. This can be a huge improvement for everyone involved, but it also depends on the unique situation. If family members are not qualified it can be difficult for them to help. Also, it may end up being a strain on them if they are not comfortable providing care. It may take a while for a friend or family member to learn the ropes, but you would be surprised at how willing to help they they may be. Spending time with people they love can help uplift your love one’s demeanor and enrich their lives. They will also have a nice change of pace from the same old routine, which can help them stay active and engaged.

Another huge source of potential help is in home care. A home care agency is an organization that will provide a caregiver for a determined about of time for your loved one. This can be a way to get a break, or change the home care setting altogether. Even bringing a home care worker in once or twice a week can be significant. It gives you the opportunity to go out and get some needed me time, all the while your loved one is receiving excellent attention. Hiring a professional does not mean that you care about your loved one any less, or that their condition is worsening. It may be scary, but it could have major impacts on the quality of life of your loved one and yourself.

Next Steps

However you choose to cope with any issues as a caregiver, it is important that you make sure everything works with the person who is receiving the care. By making sure that they are comfortable with the arrangement, and it works for you, it will make the entire process much easier for both of you. Sometimes learning relaxation techniques is the most effective option. Other times bringing in additional help is the best way. Find out what works best for you and our family. Good luck and thank for reading!


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    • EvanWright profile image
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      Evan Wright 3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Hi Karen, thanks for your insight!