Not everyone plans to become a family caregiver. In many cases, it can happen in the blink of an eye when a loved one suddenly becomes ill or injured. There’s no question that you would do everything possible for your spouse, parent, or child to make sure they get the care they need, but don’t forget about yourself in the process.
Here are four ways to help take the added stress off as a caregiver, especially during the fast pace of the holiday season.
Ease your mind
Leaving the house for work or even for errands can be worrisome. What if something happens while to you or your loved one you’re out? With a medical ID you can engrave your contact information for your loved one to wear and on an ID for you to wear you can engrave information stating you are a caregiver. This will give emergency personnel the resources needed to make sure that everyone is informed and receives the care they need.
Ask for help
Chances are, you have friends, family or neighbors who want to help. If they stop by and offer, do not feel bad for taking them up on their offer. Keep a list on the fridge of things that need to be done such as, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. When someone asks if there is something they can do for you use the list so they can pick which item to cross off your to-do list. There are also many organizations out there that provide a variety of levels of assistance.
Take time for yourself
Many times when taking on the responsibilities of caring for someone else the first thing to go is your relaxation time. But if you don’t recharge, you won’t have enough energy to help your loved one, let alone yourself. Take at least 20 minutes to do something that you love that relaxes you, whether it is going for a run, reading a book, or even just sitting in a quiet space. It is important to take time for yourself to avoid getting run down.
You are not the only one going through this; AARP reports that over 44 million Americans are caregivers for a loved one. Find a support group either locally or online to help answer the questions you face and let you know what to expect. Having that group to lean on can significantly decrease the stress of wondering what to do next. Today’s Caregiver is a bi-monthly magazine and online resource for the large population taking care of their loved ones and a place to start looking for support.