According to former First Lady, Rosalyn Carter; “There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.” In other words, at some point, everyone will face the challenges of being a caregiver. We at Caregivers Connections, have put together a list of three common challenges of caregiving, along with some tips to handle each successfully.
No one plans on becoming a caregiver to a loved one. More times than not, you find yourself in the role quite unexpectedly. If you are employed, trying to balance work and caregiving can become a struggle, and you can be left not knowing how to balance work and taking care of your loved one. Ask your HR representative about company policies and programs that support caregivers. Many companies have plans in place to help you find community services, counseling, respite care, legal/financial assistance and support groups. Other employers offer caregiving leave or flexible work arrangements. If your place of employment doesn’t have an HR department, talk to your boss and be open and honest about the situation. Most employers value good employees and will work with you to find a solution. FMLA is also an option if you are eligible.
Your own health:
As you manage your way through your loved ones’ health, don’t forget about your own. If you aren’t healthy, it’s harder to face the challenges of their health. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation makes you less alert, and you need to be 100% when you are with your loved one. Don’t let your good eating habits slide. It can be hard to maintain a healthy eating schedule, but you will benefit from it. Exercise is another challenge caregivers face. With healthy eating habits, enough sleep, and exercise you’ll keep your own body in proper shape. Fifteen minutes a day is a great place to start. Exercise comes in all shapes and sizes. In this article, Three Steps to Combine Caregiving and Exercise, you’ll find many useful tips.
How to stay engaged with your loved one:
Routine gets hard. Making sure that your loved one’s physical needs are met can get demanding and seem very mundane. It can also cause you, the caregiver, to become frustrated as it seems that all you are doing is taking care of them. A good way to break that up is to engage your loved one in something fun. Things like doing puzzles together, looking through family photographs, or perhaps reading to them is a change of pace that they are sure to enjoy. This breaks up the monotony of the day, and can help you re-connect with the person, instead of the patient.
Caregiving can be both rewarding and challenging. At Caregivers Connections, we hope that these three challenges of caregiving, and the solutions will help you as you help your loved one.