Caregiving is never easy. Even those with plenty of experience will know all too well how overwhelming it can feel at times. While challenging at times, caregiving is an incredibly rewarding commitment that can be made that bit easier with a little planning and know-how.
The following tips will make caregiving for an elderly loved one a far less stressful endeavor, offering helpful advice that will hopefully allow you to become a much more patient and loving caregiver that everyone deserves.
Organization is key
Like almost any endeavor in life, a lack of organization is the last thing you ever want. Not only does it lead to a much more stressful time, it can end up becoming much more time consuming than it has to be, taking away from your valuable time as a caregiver.
Therefore, it is very much recommended that you begin the process as organized as possible. All essential paperwork, insurance details, medical history, prescriptions, and any other important documents should be organized to ensure all the necessary information is up-to-date and easy accessible.
Take the time to plan well in advance
Now, expecting that an elderly loved one’s health is going to take a turn for the worst at some point isn’t the most positive mindset, but the truth is there is a good chance of this happening. The need for additional or more specialized care is certainly a possibility, which is why it’s a good idea to have a plan of action should this occur.
For instance, it can be some as simple as planning which hospital would be used, looking at insurance policies, looking a potential care homes or assisted living services in your local area.
Doing so will ensure that you are well prepared for the worst-case scenario or any potential emergencies, which should hopefully make those events less stressful and overwhelming if they happen.
Don’t forget about yourself
One of the most common things we see in caregiving is burnout. It’s a natural occurrence that happens to all caregivers, yet so many people feel guilty even thinking about themselves when caring for someone else.
However, it is so important for both you and your elderly family member that you find some time for yourself. If not, it could end up making caregiving so much tougher, as feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities will only make them harder to get done
It doesn’t have to be much, even just a long soak in the bath with a book, going for a coffee, or ordering your favourite takeout – a little time to recharge the batteries will do you the world of good and make you a better carer for it!
Focus on the good times
Not every moment as a caregiver is hard work – you’re spending time with someone your care deeply for after all!
There are many fun moments to be had when caring for an elderly family member, and they are often overlooked, whether it’s watching a great movie, chatting over a book you both enjoy or simply talking about your personal hobbies and interests.
Remembering these good moments will make the hard times so much easier, while also forging a strong bond and relationship that makes caregiving even more rewarding.
Get help from the rest of the family
Other family members are almost always ready to help with caregiving, even if they haven’t explicitly said so. They may not realize you require help or they are simply unsure of how to broach the subject, but whenever possible be sure to get help from other family members.
Even if you are the primary caregiver, you can provide regular updates for other members of the family. Stay connected and forge good lines of communication, as it will help to share the load among your family.