Ways To Cope When Caring For A Loved One
Written By Chris Holmes
The job of being a full time caregiver is an important one that has its peaks and valleys, but the goal is to have more peaks than valleys. When the child becomes the parent, the changing roles can be challenging if you do not find the right balance. Taking care of your own health and emotional well-being ensures you can cope with the challenges of caring for a loved one, while maintaining a good quality of life for both of you. Remember, if you don’t care for yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
- Create Lists and Establish a Daily Routine
Break large tasks into smaller steps that you can do one at a time. Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine. Begin to say no to requests that will cause anxiety and exhaust you, such as hosting holiday dinners.
- Ask for Help
Enlisting the support of friends and family does not make you appear inadequate. The truth is, others want to help and you need to let them. Be prepared with a list of ways others can help you, and let them choose what he or she would like to do. This will make it easier to accept help and ensure you get the most from the help that is offered.
Do not feel guilty because you can’t do it all. In addition to caring for your loved one, you may be juggling work, parenting children and managing household duties. Do not dismiss the idea of hiring professional help. Whether it is overnight help, or someone that comes in for just a few hours a week, this can be the single best way to cope as a caregiver.
There may come a time when asking for help means transferring a loved one to skilled nursing facility. Transferring a loved one to a skilled nursing facility does not mean you did not do your best, it simply means that you realize that you can longer provide your loved one with the quality of care that is necessary, and your health or family life may be suffering as a result. Covering the cost of long-term care can be costly for middle class Americans and many fall back on Medicaid for payment. Navigating the Medicaid process is difficult and often the family can benefit from the help of an Elder Law Attorney.
- Take Time for Yourself
Neglecting your own physical and emotional health leaves you vulnerable to medical problems and exhaustion. Set a goal to grab at least a few minutes to yourself each day. In addition to exercising and maintaining a balanced diet, it is crucial to carve out time to relax, pursue a hobby and stay connected to family and friends. This can be as simple as taking a walk, reading a good book or having a friend or neighbor over for coffee. This will do wonders for both your health and frame of mind.
- Join a Support Group
A support group can provide validation and encouragement, as well as problem-solving strategies for difficult situations. People in support groups understand what you may be going through â€“ they have been where you are. A support group can also be a place to make meaningful friendships.
Through it all don’t lose your sense of humor. After all, they say laughter is the best medicine for a reason. You can’t control your situation, but you can control how you view it. Share jokes with your loved one, look for movies that make you laugh and find humor in the everyday little things that you do. Some of our troubles would be quite funny had they not been happening to us. Find a reason to laugh every day.
If you are a caregiver that is overwhelmed, it is recommended that you meet with an elder law attorney. At the Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller we will review your circumstances and work to help you find benefits to provide you much needed respite care.