Caregiving means leaving behind the life you had and embarking on a totally new style of living. You are essentially putting your life on hold in order to be the primary caregiver of a loved one.
How do you deal with such huge changes?
Accept any and all help. Don’t be too proud to say yes if family members offer to take over for a few hours.
Find your comfort zone. At some point, realize that the quality of care you are giving is good enough. Don’t push your boundaries because you feel you aren’t the best caregiver of all time.
Is it necessary? Only do what absolutely has to be done. Sometimes overdoing it can be a sign that you are trying to take control of a situation that can’t be controlled. Do you have to be with your loved one and watching them every minute?
Are you really doing this for yourself? Sometimes we do things more for a pat on the back than because we really want to help our loved one. Ask yourself why you have decided to be a caregiver.
See a counsellor. If you find yourself unable to cope or becoming depressed, find a counsellor who has knowledge of caregivers and talk it over with them. Sometimes just discussing how difficult things are, helps you to sort things out.
Tips for Make Caregiving Easier
- Invite friends and relatives over more often if you are caregiving in your home. Make sure they are those who understand your role and aren’t put out by the fact you may be interrupted. This way you can still see friends and maybe get some help throughout the day with tasks.
- Many caregivers find support in local caregiver support groups.
- Search for community and resource groups and services that are available in your area. Many will take over for a few hours each week so you can have a badly needed break.
- Don’t give up on your interests. By spending some time on the things you enjoy, you will cope better when times are tough. Physical pursuits in particular are a big help since they reduce stress. Look into meditation or writing.
- Some caregivers find it useful to read books detailing the experience of others. It helps to know that they too have had the same experiences and felt the same way.
- Change your way of thinking. Try to find the humour in some of the everyday experiences of being a caregiver.
- Stay well. You must look after yourself so you can continue to provide caregiving.
All in all, the majority of caregivers find that when they look back over the time they have spent as caregivers, their happiness, satisfaction with their personal pursuits and social life have changed very little.