More than 40 million Americans provide unpaid care to a loved one. Most of these people do this while holding down a full-time job and/or raising families of their own. This can lead to caregivers neglecting their own needs, putting them at greater risk for a wide range of diseases, including depression.
Family caregivers should remember that caring for their own health is a vital part of providing care for their loved one. When flying, you’ve undoubtedly heard the instruction to put your own oxygen mask on first, and then help others. So it is with caregiving – in order to provide good care, you have to be in optimum health.
With the dawn of a new year, commit to following these rules.
Schedule some “me” time every day.
When one gets caught up in a caregiving role, it’s easy to let other things slide – doctor and dental appointments, going to the gym, grocery shopping, or even getting together with friends. Being a good caregiver requires a lot of stamina – and the best way to maintain the energy required is to take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise, eating well and taking some time to spend with friends and family.
Ask for and accept help from others.
If things become overwhelming, ask other family members or friends for help. For those who live out of town, ask if they could arrange a visit or pitch in for the costs of hiring some outside help. Ask a friend to pick up a prescription or groceries. Most people are glad to help and will feel good about the opportunity to contribute.
Have a conversation with your boss.
Juggling work and caregiving can quickly become overwhelming. Have a talk with your employer and explain what’s going on. You may be able to arrange for a work schedule that will mesh better with your caregiving duties. At the very least, if you come in late a few days or have to leave for an emergency, your boss and coworkers will understand what’s going on and may even be able to provide some assistance.
Enlist the support of Fedelta’s care services.
Fedelta’s professional caregivers can provide a variety of support services, including helping your loved one get dressed and bathed, grocery shopping, medication management and even light housekeeping. If your loved one has more clinical needs, our home health professionals can provide nursing and disease managment services as well.
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2015, IlluminAge