Make no mistake about it, caregivers are awesome people. As part of their duties, they are required to put themselves second to the individuals they are taking care of. Providing care to those who require physical assistance can put quite a strain on a person, both mentally and physically. Caregivers, it needs to be made known, need care themselves.
Caregivers often put themselves at risk.
One of the most interesting dimensions of health care is the often overlooked health and well-being of the caregiver. In many cases, caregivers can get injured when they incorrectly lift, move or reposition a patient. Not to mention, most caregivers are made up of the family members of the care recipients. Often, their caregiving is a 24/7 job that they don’t take enough time away from to rejuvenate.
According to Caregiver.org, family caregivers are at increased risk for depression and excessive use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. “Caregivers are more likely to have a chronic illness than are non-caregivers, namely high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a tendency to be overweight,” informs the website, “Studies show that an estimated 46 percent to 59 percent of caregivers are clinically depressed.”
So what can caregivers do to take care of themselves?
Don’t assume you have to do it all alone.
Especially if you’re not a professional caregiver, it’s important that you ask for help when you need it. As mentioned, providing care for an elderly loved one or family member with a disability can be a full-time job. Undoubtedly, you have other life responsibilities to attend to. You can’t be expected to live your life doing nothing but providing care. As FutureOfPersonalHealth.com advises, ask for and accept help.
“Family and friends want to help, but they usually don’t know how or what to do,” states the site, “Next time someone offers support, be prepared with a few ideas; such as dropping off dinner, running to the pharmacy or even watering the flowers. Taking these simple tasks off your to-do list relieves pressure for you and provides fulfillment to the helper.”
Find ways to manage your stress.
Laughter is the best medicine. Yes, perhaps it is a cliché. But that doesn’t make it a falsehood. Find the time to do what you enjoy, even if it’s as simple as watching a funny movie. Listen to your favourite music, spend time talking with friends and don’t forget to exercise. Both the physical and emotional stress you’re feeling can be decreased by keeping healthy and in good spirits.
Caregiver.org encourages caregivers to recognize the warning signs of stress early (problems sleeping, for example) and identify the things you can and cannot change. “Remember, we can only change ourselves; we cannot change another person,” the site reminds us, “When you try to change things over which you have no control, you will only increase your sense of frustration.”
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we do the best we can to ease the stress of caregivers by offering consultations that help us to determine the best mobility solutions for their loved ones. Give us a call at 403-460-5438 so that we can help you to simplify everything. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!