Taking on the role as a caregiver can be very difficult and stressful. It truly is a full time job. The National Family Caregivers Association, a group that is dedicated to representing and providing support to caregivers, provides ten tips for caregivers to go by. They are as follow:
- Caregiving is a job and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
- When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do.
- Educate yourself about your loved one’s condition and how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- There’s a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one’s independence.
- Trust your instincts. Most of the itme they’ll lead you in the right direction.
- Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Be good to your back.
- Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams.
- Seek support from other caregivers. There is great strength in knowing you are not alone.
- Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and a citizen.
You may feel as though you are alone when it comes to taking care of an elderly loved one, but groups and associations, such as National Family Caregivers, provide you, and so many others that are in the same position as you, both advice and support. Networks like these are a great way to share stories and ask questions to other caregivers. It is also important to give yourself a break! Although you would love to, you can’t do everything on your own. Accept any help that is offered so that you can give yourself a break. You deserve it, both physically and mentally!