Caring for an elderly relative, most often a parent or grandparent, is a common situation for many people. For some, it’s very much a choice, whereas other times it can feel like there is no other option but to help. Whether or not you made a completely autonomous choice to be a carer, it can be rewarding, but it’s also often exhausting. Caregivers can experience exhaustion, stress, and burnout, making it difficult for them to continue giving care to their loved one. If caregiving is getting you down, it can feel like there’s no way out. However, there are some steps you can take to get back on the right track.
Access Care Services
Not everyone can afford to access full-time care for their loved ones, and nor do they always want to. However, if you’re a caregiver, it’s always a good idea to make sure you can take a break now and then. Having someone else to help with care, even if it’s for a couple of hours a week or just a day every few months, can help you a lot. Getting someone to come in and provide home care can provide respite. And it’s a good idea not just for you but the person you care for too. If you need a break from them, it’s likely they wouldn’t mind a break from you too.
Find the Joy in Your Caregiving
There are many things about being a caregiver that can get you down. It can sometimes be a thankless task, and it might be hard to find the good in what you’re doing. But trying to remember the reasons you’re doing it and taking pleasure in the small things can help you to be more positive. For example, you can remind yourself that you’re caring for your mother because you love her and she has always cared for you. Or you might enjoy the small victories that you manage to achieve. You don’t have to do anything huge to make a difference in your loved one’s life.
Get Emotional Support
As well as having support from other people who can help you care for your relative, it’s also helpful to have emotional support. Having someone you can talk to helps you to relieve stress and know that there’s someone to listen to you. Many caregivers join support groups, which enable you to share with people who understand your experiences. These could be in real life, or you can find online support groups.
Take Care of Yourself
Don’t forget that it’s important to take care of yourself. If you don’t feel physically and emotionally healthy, you can’t be at your best to provide for the person you look after. You need to take care of yourself by maintaining your relationships, taking breaks, and staying healthy. Try not to make your whole life about caring for someone else if you can avoid it.
Feeling the fatigue of being a caregiver doesn’t make you a bad person. If it’s getting to you, make sure you do something to help yourself.