As a caregiver for a family member, you are undertaking a long, difficult, and rewarding journey. We have cared for family members, and we’ve helped many families along the way. Here are some helpful hints from our family to yours!
- Take Regular, Scheduled Breaks
We like to remind daughters, “If you don’t take care of yourself, there won’t be anyone to take care of dad.” Guilt can make you feel trapped in a world with no help and no way out. But don’t buy into that story. Make time to relax, socialize, and spend doing something fun. If you take care of yourself, you’ll take better care of your loved one. Respite care is an oft used resource for families to take some time to recharge.
- Get To Know Your Resources
The internet is full of helpful information on caring for loved ones, and even more in regards to a specific disease or illness. If “knowledge is power,” you’re empowering yourself to understand your loved one and yourself for the long haul. Check out our recommended resources here.
- Set Boundaries and Ground Rules
If you let it, giving care can take over your life. It can affect your job, your marriage, or your parenting (if you’re still in that stage of life). Don’t be afraid to have days/hours where you aren’t available. Home care services are a great option to help instill boundaries and provide you with peace of mind.
- Join a Support Group
This is often a difficult thing for family members to do. People always seem to have a negative view of support groups, or they simply don’t have time. In today’s world, online support groups are accessible at any point. We believe these are wonderful options because you encounter other people who have gone through similar circumstances. Every person’s family and caring experience is different, however, learning someone has gone through (or is going through) the same thing and survived creates a sense of solidarity. When someone understands what it’s like not sleeping because you have to take care of mom, you don’t feel so alienated from the world. Support groups are valuable and under-utilized forums for caregivers to access emotional understanding.
Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from crying. Other times, laughter might move you past the grief or anger you are feeling. Don’t be afraid to laugh at some of the situations you encounter, and don’t be afraid to find lightheartedness in a typically very dark season.
Here’s a dog having a really good day. Helpful reminder.