Ask any family caregiver and they’ll probably agree that being a caregiver is one of the most rewarding, but also most challenging, things a person could ever do. On the days when things go well, you’ll go to bed at night feeling great about what you’re doing for your aging family member and being grateful for the time that you get to spend with them. But, the days that don’t go well can leave you feeling like the challenges are just too much. If you find yourself having difficulty coping with some of the common challenges of being a caregiver, here are some tips that we hope will help.
Use Time Management Skills
Depending on your profession, you probably use time management skills in your work life. Try transferring some of those skills to your caregiver duties, too. Make a “to do” list of items you need to get done. Prioritize them and complete the most pressing ones first. Remind yourself that it’s okay to let the smaller stuff slide and get to it another day. If there are some things you simply cannot find time for, ask for help. Other family members or friends may be able to step in. If there is no one else available to help, consider hiring a home care provider who can come to the older adult’s home and help. You may also find it useful to be upfront with the senior about what you can and cannot do so that you are not expected to do everything.
Find Time to Focus on the Positive
One of the most difficult things about being a caregiver can be seeing someone you love suffering. This may be especially true if the person is your parent. You’re used to them taking care of you, not the other way around. If you’re struggling with these feelings, taking some time to step away from the situation can help. Make time to do something positive that makes you feel good. It can help to schedule an activity with your parent that you both enjoy, but asking someone else to step in and be the caregiver that day so that you can just spend quality time.
Stay in Touch with Friends
Being a caregiver can take up so much of your time that it’s hard to stay in touch with your friends and other family members. But, now is when you need them the most. Even if you can’t spend as much time with them as you used to, don’t allow yourself to lose touch. Use social media platforms to send quick notes, give updates, and ask about their lives. Make some time now and then to grab a cup of coffee, have lunch, or make a phone call.
Though caregiver duties can be time-consuming and stressful, you can take care of your loved one while also living your own life. Remember that you are only human and can’t be expected to do everything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to hire help if needed.
If you or an aging family member are considering elderly care in Brookhaven, GA, please contact the caring staff at Caring Companions of Atlanta 470-514-5954.
Adam is married and he and his wife have two younger children. The family shares their home with two cats and two hermit crabs. The kids are working hard to get mommy and daddy to add a puppy...time will tell! They live in Sandy Springs and are active in the senior community.