June 21, 2012 – The challenge of being a caregiver for a loved one can be time consuming and extremely stressful. According to a recent study, 55% of caregivers report that they feel overwhelmed and are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors.
Here are five easy tips to deal with the stress of caregiving that go beyond “take a deep breath”.
1. Research resources available to you.
There may be home health care services, transportation, and meal delivery services in your community. There may also be adult day care centers and short term nursing homes available for your use.
2. Ask for help.
Enlist the help of family members or loved ones when needed.
Join a support group in your area to interact with others in similar situations. www.caregiver.com has a feature which allows you to find such groups in your community.
3. Stay organized.
Everybody has a digital calendar on their computer. But, as a caregiver, it might be helpful to be a little old fashioned and carry a paper planner with you.
Use your planner to keep track of doctors’ appointments, check-ups, and even to write out your weekly grocery lists. Sometimes just writing something down will help you feel a little calmer and more on top of things.
4. Plan ahead.
Research eldercare issues such as Medicare and powers of attorney.
5. Take care of yourself.
Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat full meals. It is important to stay healthy in order to provide the best help for your loved one.
And yes – this might include taking the occasional deep breath.