Family caregivers generously and gladly take on the responsibility of taking care of their elderly relative when they can no longer perform daily tasks on their own. When illness, injury or simply the effects of aging make it hard for an elderly person to live successfully on their own, it can mean a long-term care facility or moving in with family.
It’s easy for family caregivers to suffer from chronic stress due to elderly care, others in their family, their job, community commitments and more. In fact, caregiver burnout is very common when caregivers don’t take care of themselves and make extra effort to reduce the stress in their lives.
In order to remain positive and nurturing instead of exhausted and irritated, there are 5 things that family caregivers should never do.
1. Never Ignore Themselves
It’s very common for family caregivers to get so busy that they neglect to take care of themselves physically and mentally. They may skip over exercising and eat fast food on the run because they are trying to do it all. It’s easy for them to really forget about some of their own basic needs because they are so focused on others in their lives. Caregivers may also put elderly care ahead of their own personal care, like seeing their doctor, going to the dentist and other health visits.
2. Never Isolate Themselves
Along with being busy, many family caregivers feel tied to their elderly relative. Often, the relative can’t be alone for very long, or is afraid to be alone. Certain medical conditions and medication schedules don’t allow the caregiver to be gone for long. Eventually, it becomes easier for the caregiver to just stay around the house rather than leave for work, run errands, visit with friends or enjoy a hobby.
3. Never Turn Help Down
Caregivers may not want others to know that they are struggling, and will sometimes turn down help when it is offered. They may fear having other family members judge them, or they don’t trust that another person can provide the level of care they can. Taking too much on their own leads to chronic stress. Many family members and friends are willing to help.
4. Never Self-Medicate
When family caregivers are shouldering burdens that are overwhelming, it’s easy to try to self-medicate. Substances like alcohol or drugs may seem to take the edge off and make people feel as if they can handle their stress but it’s just a fast way to further mental and physical damage. Food is another common way that people self-medicate, and overeating and obesity is on the rise with caregivers. Seek out professional help via a doctor or therapist.
5. Never Discount Home Care Assistance
No matter what personal barriers stand in the way of hiring a home care assistant, it can be one of the best things for a family caregiver. Some are hesitant to spend money on elderly care, while others are concerned about having a non-family member come into the home. Home care agencies should not be ignored as it is one of the best ways for family caregivers to get a break and manage their time.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering elderly care in Chelsea, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...