Stepping in as a primary, or even part-time, caregiver to an elderly or incapacitated loved one can be a strenuous task both physically and mentally. It can be especially complicated when that loved one is a parent because the roles then become reversed.
At Blue Water Homecare, we are professional and experienced at-home caregivers, offering services from household chores to personal hygiene and incontinence care.
We witness firsthand the sense of anxiety that can affect someone when they first become responsible for another family member who is unable to care for him or herself due to age, illness, or injury.
Here are five tips that our experts share for easing yourself into this new role as a caregiver:
- Get and stay organized.
Organizing your loved one’s doctors or therapy appointments, medicines, and routines can be stressful, however, the faster you can manage their needs and affairs, the less stress you may feel in the long run.
Use paper planners, electronic organizers, or mobile apps to help you with reminders and keeping important emergency information at your fingertips, like doctors’ or pharmacy numbers, or even lawyers and bank contacts, if you are stepping in to help with legal and financial matters as well.
- Stick to a routine.
Whether it’s establishing new daytime/nighttime routines, or sticking to what is already in place, schedules will help keep you and your loved one on track. Knowing what activities to expect each day, and at what time, will help you both feel more settled.
Map out the best times of day for their meals, exercise, naps and medicines, and adhere to that schedule as best as you can.
- Seek out support groups.
If your family member is facing a particular illness or diagnosis, such as dementia or Parkinson’s Disease, it can often be helpful to seek out others who are experiencing these same challenges. Peers who are also caring for someone under these circumstances can share tips, guidance, and lend a supportive ear when you may need to express your frustrations and fears in this role.
In Austin, local Parkinson’s support is available at the Capital Area Parkinson’s Society, and Alzheimer’s support can be found at the Alzheimer’s Association Capital Texas Chapter.
- Take care of yourself.
Self-care, both physical and mental, is essential and will go a long way in taking care of your loved one. You may not have the energy and stamina to look after someone else if you neglect to look after yourself first. Get sufficient rest, eat healthful meals, take your own medicines, and keep physically active to help you stay feeling your best.
Make sure to schedule rest and relaxation time for yourself and enlist trusted family members or friends to take over care when you need to step away.
- Ask for help when you need it.
One final but very important bit of advice is to ask for help when you need it in. Sometimes dividing and conquering tasks related to their care, or just basic daily household chores, can make a world of difference and ease your burden. Knowing when and what type of care may be needed can be found here.
Blue Water Homecare offers a variety of services to support you in your role as caregiver, including general At Home Care, Dementia Care, and a Parkinson’s Program.Contact us today to learn about how we can help you. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.