Who Is A Caregiver?
One out of 3 adults in the US is doing the job of caregiving. Anybody who helps another person in need is a caregiver. The needy person can be an ill spouse, an aged friend or relative, or a child having a disability. You can be a caregiver if you regularly help somebody with housework, getting dressed, buying and keeping track of medicine, and more.
The job of caregiving is rewarding, but it can also be stressful. Thus, caregivers experience greater stress compared to normal people. Therefore, it is important to know that caregivers also need emotional support.
Factors Leading To An Increased Caregiver Stress
The stress that a caregiver feel can put their health at risk. Here are a few factors that may cause a rise in their stress levels:
- Feeling depressed or helpless
- Spending several hours in caregiving
- Living with somebody who is helpless
- Financial issues
- Lacking good coping or problem-solving skills
- Not having enough guidance from medical experts
- Feeling of loneliness
Indications of Stress
A caregiver is very much focused on their loved ones. They do not even care about their health. Caregiving can affect your physical and mental health, making you feel stressed. Below are a few indicators of caregiver stress:
- Feeling sad
- Headaches or getting ill more often
- Losing or gaining weight
- Losing interest in activities that you like
- Alcohol consumption
- Drug abuse
- Becoming easily angry or irritated
- Sleeping not enough or too much
- Feeling burdened
As a caregiver, feeling too much stress can affect your overall well-being. You may not eat or sleep properly, which increases the chances of many health problems like diabetes or heart disorder. Read further to learn the tips to give emotional support to caregivers.
Offering Emotional Support for Caregivers
The physical and emotional needs of caregiving may stress even the one who is strong from the inside out. You can come across various tools and resources that may aid in caring for your loved ones and yourself. Utilize them and do the needful. Manage your stress levels by:
Focusing On What You Can Do
Sometimes you may feel that whatever you are doing is not enough. But you must understand that no caregiver is perfect. Just focus on your actions and believe you are giving your best.
Setting Attainable Goals
Prepare a list of bigger tasks and break them into small steps so that you can do each at a time. You should identify the important tasks and do them on a priority basis. Stick to a day-to-day routine.
Seeking Social Support
Keep your friends and family close as they are the ones who will be supporting you. Take time out of your schedule and visit any of your close friends or relatives.
Joining A Caregiver Support Group
The members of a support group know what you are going through. These people can motivate you and assist in solving your problems. You can also get the opportunity to make new friends by joining a support group.
Taking Good Care Of Your Well-Being
Try new ways to get better sleep in the night. Do certain exercises, eat a well-balanced diet, and drink enough water daily. All this can bring a massive change in your overall health.
Know about the available caregiving resources in your neighborhood. You may come across certain classes or caregiving services like meal delivery, rides, house cleaning, etc.
Getting Help From A Healthcare Expert
Visit your healthcare expert and get the required vaccines or routine health checkups. Share everything regarding your physical or mental well-being with the expert.
Going For Respite Care
For caregivers, respite services can offer a temporary break. This type of care might range from in-home respite to short-term nursing homes.
Try to know more about the condition of the person you are offering care. It will help you in supporting them better.
More Ways To Look After Your Health When Caring Your Loved One
Below are a few additional ways to better care for your loved ones while managing your job and other household chores:
Get Financial Assistance
Taking care of your loved ones requires financial stability. You might feel more anxious if you have quit your job or reduced your working hours to care for someone. But, you can claim monetary support from your local council.
Stick to a carer’s assessment with your local council. By doing this, you can be entitled to a carer’s allowance. To fulfill the needs of your loved one, you might also be eligible for monetary support for additional care services.
Create An Emergency Plan
If your loved one turns sick, an emergency plan can be helpful. This plan may ease all your worries or anxieties. You can use it at any critical period or when you fail to provide care to your loved ones, no matter the reason.
The emergency plan that you prepare must have the following details:
- Details about ongoing treatments
- Whom to contact in an emergency
- Contact information of the general practitioner
- The personal info of your loved one
- Information regarding any medication
Share Your Caregiving Responsibilities With Your Employer
Managing both your work and caregiving responsibilities can be challenging. If you struggle to balance your commitments, speak to your employer. You can expect to get some sort of practical support in return.
For instance, you may get flexible working hours and feel less stressed about juggling workload and caregiving responsibilities. Some employers also offer eldercare benefits and support. So, it is wise to know all the caregiver support you can avail of from your employer.
Being a caregiver, you have to face many losses, such as loss of independence, loss of income, and loss of a sense of yourself. All these may result in creating a feeling of unhappiness and depression.
When you have been caring for a loved one for a long time, it is easier to feel negative and resentful. You can feel lonely at certain points in life as you have nobody to talk to in the entire day except the care receiver.
So, you must look out for local resources for caregivers from which you can get emotional support. Several mobile applications and web-based services that promote emotional support for caregivers like Alnicor are also available.