In our last blog, we pointed out the warning signs to be aware of that signal caregiver burnout, and shared the dangers to both the caregiver suffering from burnout, as well as the care recipient himself or herself. One of the most important steps to take when feeling overloaded with the stress of providing care is to be sure to carve out enough time to take care of yourself.
Following are some tips to help reduce caregiver burnout so you can provide the best possible care to your aging loved one:
• Find a way to relax whether it’s by taking off for a long walk, fishing for a couple of hours or just quieting your mind through soothing music, prayer, meditation or relaxation if you’re unable to actually leave the house.
• Focus on finding one activity a day that brings enjoyment to you. Respite does not have to mean leaving home; it can be taking a momentary break to do something positive.
• Exercise regularly, even if it means finding someone else to provide care while walking or going to exercise class.
• Eat nutritious meals. Don’t give in to stress-driven urges for sweets or drink too much alcohol.
• Try hard to get enough sleep. If kept up at night, try a nap during the day to make up for lost sleep.
• Talk about it your concerns and worries. Join a caregiver support group in your area to be able to share your thoughts, feelings and information with others in similar circumstances. The information and insights you bring to the conversation can be exactly what someone else in the group needs to hear. Or join a local support group or interact with other caregivers in “virtual” support groups on caregiving websites if leaving the house is impossible or difficult. Some support groups that might be helpful are “Patients Like Me” Parkinson’s Disease Community, Stroke Awareness for Everyone, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
• Explore community resources such as our local Area Agency on Aging (208-667-3179 or toll free 800-786-5536) to find out information regarding adult day-care centers, the in-home Respite Care program and meal delivery services. This agency has programs and information that can help free up a caregiver’s time to run personal errands or just get away from the home for some relaxation and downtime.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone! AAging Better In-Home Care has contracted with the Area Agency on Aging to be a designated provider of Homemaker and Respite Care services, often at no cost to the client. We can create a personalized “Plan of Care” for your elderly loved one, noting his or her unique needs, likes and dislikes. Our specially trained and compassionate caregivers can assist with a full range of home care needs, from personal assistance with bathing and dressing, to transportation, housekeeping, shopping, and much more. Contact us today with any questions at (208) 777-0308 in the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls or Hayden areas; (208) 263-7889 in the Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry or Priest River areas; or (208) 784-1505 in the Kellogg, Wallace or Pinehurst areas.