Primary caregivers are at an increased risk for health problems, especially when they do a lot without assistance. Caregiving can be extremely rewarding if you as a caregiver get the right knowledge, support and helpful self-care tactics to help you. Gabriel’s Angel’s, who provide live-in care in Woking, know how challenging caregiving can be. Here are some of the things that all caregivers out there should know about:
Overwhelming Job, No Pay
Caregiving is regarded as the fastest growing unpaid profession in the UK. Caregivers mostly deal with challenging tasks such as preparing meals for the people they care for, bathing them, escorting them to their doctor’s visits and managing medicines.
Caregiving Can Be Stressful
Caregiving is strenuous and challenging. As such it can take a heavy toll physically and emotionally. Many caregivers care for others but forget about their own emotional and physical health. Statistics show that between 30 and 40 per cent of dementia caregivers experience high levels of stress and depression.
These caregivers are more likely to need anti-anxiety drugs and other medications than other people. Such problems need to be identified and treated early enough, otherwise, the caregiver could end up suffering from severe depression. It is important for a caregiver to give top priority to his or her mental and physical health.
Tips to Help Those Caregivers Suffering From Stress
1. Ask for Assistance
It is not a good idea to be the sole caregiver. Ask siblings or adult children to help with tasks such as car rides and groceries. You can also ask for help from a governmental agency a place of worship, or a local volunteer organisation to avoid burnout. There are support organisations and hospitals that link new caregivers with experienced caregivers or social workers. This can help you coordinate assistance from family and friends.
2. Talk to Someone about What You Are Going Through
Talk to a friend, family member, counsellor or clergy about what you are experiencing or look for a local support group. Research has shown that people with emotional outlets and the support of family or friends are less likely to suffer from health problems associated with stress.
3. Daily Exercise Can Help
Exercise is good for your brain and body. During exercise, our brains release endorphins which helps promote feelings of well-being. In fact, 30 minutes of exercise a day along with a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low fat can help you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Find a Hobby and Enjoy It
Enjoying a hobby can help you overcome burnout. Therefore, it is a good idea to set aside time every week to enjoy a hobby. It can be watching a movie, reading a book or gardening. Just look for a hobby that suits your personality. If possible, take periodic breaks from caregiving and go for a short vacation. You can ask a family member or family members to do caregiving on your behalf while you are away or contact a respite care provider to step in while you are on vacation.
5. Seek Professional Help
Are you unsure about what you need? Or are you feeling overwhelmed by the logistics of taking care of your loved one at home? If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, talk with your doctor. The good thing about doing this is that your doctor can refer you to an occupational therapist, social worker, or a nurse who will evaluate your loved one and where he or she stays and recommend in-home medical care or safety renovations.
Your doctor can also recommend local support services. Sometimes, insurance covers the cost of an in-home assessment. Short-term respite care offers programs that send a healthcare professional to a patient’s home for temporary care. Short-term stays in a nursing home or assisted living facility can also be arranged.
Despite the challenges of caregiving, research has shown that between 1/3 and 1/2 of caregivers are emotionally healthy. These caregivers say that they feel that they have given something back to their loved ones who provided for them and believe that caregiving is a very important duty.