Best tips for Caregivers
Best tips for caregivers. It’s a guide that Harry Clein (Jose fit zone contributor) put together. Which will measure how difficult caregiving is, that many people who care for others end up needing care themselves. According to the Journals of the American Medical Association, caregiver spouses between the ages of 66 and 96 are at a significantly higher risk of death than others – 63 percent higher, to be exact. No matter what age you are, caregiving can take a tremendous emotional and physical toll, placing you at risk for major health problems. Caregivers are also statistically less likely than others to practice self-care or make healthy lifestyle choices, even though it places their long-term health at risk and makes the task of providing care more difficult.
How To Be An Effective Caregiver
To be an effective caregiver, you must be a good steward of your own health. That means getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and making time for yourself. Caregiving is a difficult emotional journey, and you need every advantage if you’re to do it effectively and be strong for and receptive to your loved one.
Consider the following self-care tips as you look forward to another year of caring for someone near and dear to you:
- Be conscientious about your health.Taking responsibility for your own health may be the most important thing you can do as a caregiver. That means getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night; observing a healthy diet with vegetables, whole grain foods and lean meats; and making time for yourself when necessary. Caring for a chronically-ill family member is around-the-clock job. Therefore, you’ll need to find time to get away from the situation and recharge your mental batteries every so often.
- Reach out to relatives when you need a breather, have a medical appointment scheduled, or just need to be away for awhile.
- Minimize stress. Finding ways to minimize stress is important for everyone no matter what you do. It’s especially important for caregivers, because you’re living with stress around the clock. Caring for an older relative who’s suffering from a chronic or terminal condition is a tremendously stressful situation. Thus, ignoring your own needs is a sure way to reach caregiver burnout. There’s no need to feel guilty about taking time away. Without it, you can’t cope with stress, and you certainly can’t be the loving, attentive caregiver you want to be.
- Caring for a relative is an emotionally-fraught situation. As a result, you may experience guilt, sorrow, anger, frustration and joy all in the span of a few hours, depending on your situation. Finding emotional and logistical support is essential, as are exercise, sleep, diet and creating a restful, relaxing environment (consult a Feng Shui expert if you’re short on ideas).
- Establish goals. With a new year upon us, now’s a good time to set personal goals that can help you deal more effectively with the challenges of caregiving. One goal may be to spend a day or half-day a week doing whatever you like, or spending time with friends over coffee. Consider learning yoga or meditating every day, both of which are excellent stress-reducing activities. Resolve to get to bed earlier each night and to lose weight gradually, the healthy way, by eating the right foods and avoiding fad diets. Make time to go for a walk for 30 minutes every week (or more often if possible).
- Be a good listener and communicator. It’s much easier to be a good caregiver if you’re also a good listener and communicator. Make a concerted effort to listen more carefully to what your care subject is saying – and to what he’s not saying. Avoid negative exchanges by communicating honestly and respectfully. Sometimes, a care subject who’s feeling bad may become impatient, even abusive. Gently remind them you’re there to help, but that you want to be treated the same way they’d want to be treated.
Catering to a care subject’s needs every day makes it easy to overlook your own health requirements. If you’re feeling stressed all the time, take stock of the personal health decisions you’re making. Don’t underestimate the importance of time away and the need for self-care.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.
Journals of the American Medical Association- https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/192209
Caregiver burnout- https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/03/caregiving_n_5983252.html
Feng Shui- https://www.angieslist.com/articles/5-steps-achieve-spa-feel-home.htm
Good listener- https://www.agingcare.com/articles/how-caregivers-can-listen-with-intention-167472.htm