Whether you’ve recently started caregiving for a loved one or you’ve been doing it for a while, here are 4 rules that can really make or break your time as a caregiver.
Rule #1: Accept Help
This is the first rule because it’s the most important. When you’re caregiving, you often want to do everything by yourself. Not because you don’t trust others, but because you think it’s your duty. And you think it’s your responsibility to do it all on your own.
This is the biggest trap that caregivers fall into. And they’ll even run themselves ragged thinking they just need to push themselves a little more. But this is not a sustainable way of life. And, it certainly is not a sustainable way of caregiving. Eventually, both you and your loved one will feel the consequences of your pushing yourself too hard.
So, you need to understand, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
And, it’s okay to accept help.
If someone is willing to offer you an extra hand- take it. The same way you want to help your loved senior, others want to help you. You wouldn’t want your senior to reject your help, so don’t reject others’ help to you.
Rule #2: Stay Organized
When you’ve finally decided to accept help from others, it can get a little hectic remembering who is doing what for your senior.
And when things are hectic, it makes others less likely to continue to give their support. When someone offers help, they want to actually be able to help or they’ll come away feeling frustrated. They don’t want to show up, only to find your senior being helped by two other friends as well, because of your overbooked.
So, you’ve got to keep a good schedule. Don’t just make lists in your head, because you’re likely to forget those. Instead, have a physical (or digital) calendar, and write everything down. Who, what, where, and when.
Rule #3: Take Care of Yourself
While you’re scheduling your senior’s healthcare appointments, make sure to schedule your own as well. Whether it be mental or physical.
As the popular saying goes, you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first.
Because you simply can’t give someone good care if you don’t have the energy to do so.
Take care of yourself.
Keep yourself healthy and strong, even if that means taking some time off for yourself.
Rule #4: Consider Your Options
In addition to getting help from friends and family, you can also get help from professionals.
It doesn’t have to be all the time, but having a professional caregiver come to your home and take care of things every now and then is a huge stress reliever. Even just knowing that you have a professional to rely on, is comforting.
This way, when you need to take time for yourself, or simply can’t take off from work for another doctor appointment, you can pay a professional caregiver to do the work for you.