9 strategies to manage the challenges of caregiving

January 09, 2019 | by Linda Conlin

Caring for a loved one can put a strain on your health, mentally and physically. It can be hard enough to manage your own life; add the well-being of someone else to the mix and it’s a recipe for stress.

You can manage the challenges of caregiving by:
  1. Making a list. Prioritize what needs to be done first. Set realistic goals on your to-do list and celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small.
  2. Sticking to a routine. Establishing a consistent routine will help you all feel more in control by knowing what to expect.
  3. Caring for yourself. It can be difficult to care for someone else if you are not taking care of yourself. Make time to do things you enjoy, like going out to dinner with friends or taking an evening stroll. Self-care is essential for caregivers to avoid burnout.
  4. Asking for help. Set up a care team of friends and family members who want to help ease the burden. If multiple people help with small tasks, like fixing dinner or providing transportation, one person isn’t left with all of the responsibility.
  5. Hiring outside help when you need it. Home healthcare aides can help with daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet or moving around. They can also provide more complex healthcare if needed. Learn about the home care services we offer.
  6. Managing your emotions. You may find yourself feeling guilty, resentful, angry and worried all in one day. These feelings are all normal. Just don’t keep them bottled inside. Express your feelings by talking to someone, joining a support group or writing them down in a journal.
  7. Reducing stress. Caregiving can feel like a full time job (on top of your regular job!). Try to find ways to de-stress as much as possible by staying active, choosing healthy foods and getting plenty of rest.
  8. Having fun. Enjoyable, happy moments can help shape the days ahead. Spend time with your loved one doing something you both like. It can strengthen your relationship and bring you closer together.
Good communication with the person you are caring for is one of the most important parts of your role. Keep an open line of communication by:
  • Helping them live a life as normal as possible
  • Encouraging them to share their feelings
  • Letting your loved one know you are available when needed
  • Remembering that people communicate in different ways
  • Being realistic and flexible about what you talk about and agree on
  • Respecting that everyone needs alone time

As a caregiver, you are a vital part of your loved one’s care team. He or she needs you during this time in their life and caring for them, although exhausting, can also be very rewarding.

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