One of the most important skills you can learn as a family caregiver is how to manage your own stress levels appropriately. The better your plan for stress is, the more readily you’re going to be able to keep stress at low enough levels to function well day after day.
Take Time Away from Caregiving
Many family caregivers mistakenly believe that once they start being a caregiver, they’re supposed to be committed to that cause without fail for the duration. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take breaks away from the stressful situation that caring for your elderly family member can be. Take advantage of any respite care that is offered to you by friends and family, but don’t leave it there. Hire home care providers experienced with Alzheimer’s disease to help you, too.
Exercise Every Day
As long as your doctor clears you to work out regularly, make sure that you do so as often as possible. Exercise helps you to stay healthy, but it also helps your brain to work through problems. Working out is another way to help yourself work through emotional issues, too. Find some exercise that you enjoy and stick with it to get the best benefits.
Set up a Support Network
Caregiving can be extremely isolating if you allow it to be. What you really need is a solid support network that you can rely on when you need them. Support groups are an excellent choice because these are people who are going through similar situations to your own and they can truly relate to you. Reach out also to family and friends often so that you’re not losing touch with the people that you love.
Learn to Use Meditation or Deep Breathing
You also need some techniques that you can use any time you need them to help you calm down and manage chronic stress. Both meditation and deep breathing exercises are excellent for this purpose because they have long term effects. Deep breathing is also something you can do at any time and it’s not out of place.
What would you tell your best friend if she were in your situation? That’s an important question that you can answer for yourself periodically to help make sure you’re still doing what you need to do for yourself.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home caregivers in Anchorage for light meal preparation, call us! The friendly staff at Shine Bright Care are here to answer your questions. Call toll free (888) 264-5998.
In reflecting on this journey, my home care career, I cannot help but think of my parents. I assisted alongside my sister, to care for them during their last years. Both mother and father had suffered a stroke, heart attacks, diabetes, dementia, hypertension and many more complications that I cannot even imagine going through.
Life as a caregiver was not easy but it was something that you just had to do, especially for your parents. Both my parents needed full-time 24-7 care, meaning they could not do anything for themselves. Every day my sister would care for them, whether it was assisting them to medical appointments, cooking and cleaning, bathing and showering, or transferring from wheelchair to bed. It was their complete care for all activities of daily living.
I think of my parents often. My father passed in 2012 and my mother recently passed in 2015. I would give anything to have them back. That would be selfish to say, as it would have meant them suffering and not living a full life. I know they are in heaven smiling down.
With the experience of caring for my parents, I was able to secure a job as a direct support professional. I was later offered a job as a case manager and excelled to become a team leader. Gradually I was promoted to being a care coordinator and from then on, I just knew this was meant for me.
This is my calling; this is my life’s purpose. I went on to experience greater things in this field of Human Services. To care and help individuals and families find support and services needed to navigate the system to meet their needs, is such an honor and rewarding experience to be involved in.
I look back, and a decade has passed since I started and it is now 2017. I would love to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to have the experience of caring for them and go on to do something great with helping others find care and support in the community.
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