Caring for a Loved One
Caring for yourself is as important as caring for a loved one. Taking care of a loved one is exhausting physically and emotionally, but it is an act of love that is both selfless and rewarding. Yes, it is hard and not many are able to take it on. I recognize that as I am supporting my parents. But I want to stress this is not for everyone and that is okay, but if you are a caregiver, there are a few things to know.
Whether you are a caregiver or you support a loved one in need, there is something that requires understanding, patience, and supplemental support to thrive for both the caregiver the one(s) who need the care.
Being a caregiver can be overwhelming, frustrating, and challenging. Each day and each hour can be all-consuming with daily challenges and new challenges. In addition to the typical support that entails ensuring they are healthy with food, hygiene, and stimulation, you also face unique challenges, not knowing what each day may bring. A typical example can be how they fee each day. It is important to recognize they have feelings of loneliness, irritation, anger, fear, remember they are scared and so we have to remember the issues of the caregiver as well as the one who needs the care.
Despite all of this, caregivers persevere and wake up every day to face new challenges. Why? Because they care.
It is necessary to understand the role you play as a caregiver. Providing care for another person is something most are not prepared for, though there are many support organizations, there is no course on how to be and what to expect as a caregiver.
Though stressful and exhausting, both physically and emotionally, it can be one of the most selfless and rewarding and gratifying experiences. When it starts to feel overwhelming, it is a good idea to step back and look at the big picture. Your support to someone helps them not feel alone, your time and attention give not only comfort but has a beneficial impact on your loved one, something that is a gift and even though there will be good and challenging times when those special moments come along you will feel the happiness that you are making a difference. These are the moments that keep us going.
Being a caregiver will give you a new perspective on life; this experience will shape you and help you recognize what is essential in life. Even though the most challenging times being a caregiver of someone you love, will have a direct and positive impact on your life, your relationships, and your outlook.
Though it may feel like a thankless job with little accolades for the sacrifices you make, do not forget the difference you are making in your loved one’s life each day. You are putting your loved one over yourself, caring, letting them know you are there for them, providing them with dignity, and love is the ultimate gift. It is not easy, but it is commendable.
Being a caregiver has a lot of responsibilities and can be overwhelming. Not only the physical aspect but also coordinating doctor visits, medications, and meals, the emotional stress can be exhausting. It is vital that you also take care of yourself. If you do not take care of yourself emotionally and physically, you will not be healthy enough to care for the one you love, and you will eventually burnout. Below are some practical tips I hope to benefit you.
Take care of your needs
You have a responsibility as a caregiver, and even though you feel you need a break, it is hard to turn the care over to someone else for some time. I believe a sense of guilt for taking time away, and most people do not do it. Self-care is essential to your ability to thrive as a caregiver, and frankly, the loved one you are caring for needs you to be healthy to provide the care they need. Ignoring your mental and physical health must be a priority. Go to lunch with a friend, pursue an activity that you love, take a spa day, go for a walk to clear your head. You will be better at taking care of yourself.
Ask for help
Asking for help is a good thing. Family members, support groups, church members must be there for you. A caregiver can find it hard to ask for help, but others do not know you could use support if you don’t ask. Allow them to help when you need a break, or if you have a doctor’s appointment or need to go to the store and have enough time to get things done you need to do for yourself and your family. Leave them with instructions on when to feed them, when and what medication are required, things they like to do (perhaps read them a book), then you can feel confident that your loved one is in good care while you away.
Caring for a loved one around the clock takes a heavy toll on your body. It’s a demanding job that will wear you down if you’re not getting enough sleep, not eating healthy food, not getting exercise, and not getting enough fresh air. These are essentials that no one can do without and remain functional. Make sure you are getting sufficient sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, and get some exercise a few times each week.
Other Support Sytems
I find that those going through the same or similar issues help each other. There is a bond established when you talk about your problems with others who face related issues. Talking and sharing with others in support groups is a great outlet; not only will it relieve stress, but you learn from each other while building a social circle of support.
If you are facing the grief of a loved one who needs care, I understand, I have and am going through it now, and the tips provided have helped me to stay healthy while relishing the time I have. I will talk more about this over the weeks and provide support systems for both those who are a caregiver as well as understanding what our loved one is going through.
Comment below, I would love to hear your feedback to help me mold future blogs.
Love and Peace,