As humans, we tend to believe that taking care of ourselves throughout our lives, such as; eating right, taking our daily vitamins, annual physicals and exercising will ensure healthy aging. However, healthy aging is not always promised. Life can throw one or many forks in the road when it comes to our health and longevity. This then leads to a more dependent lifestyle and when that happens, family members tend to be the ones who “come to our rescue” and must take on the caregiver role (and at times, not always by choice).
The role of the primary caregiver can seem endless. Usually, that designated someone has a laundry list of daily “to-dos” to tackle in order to meet all the needs of their loved one. These “to-dos” might entail bathing, dressing, toileting, medication management, transporting to appointments, nightly reminder phone calls, meal prep, and the list goes on.
When does that said caregiver find time for him or herself? And how can he or she balance their own personal lives?
Below are some helpful ways to prevent caregiver burnout:
- Get and stay organized: Make use of calendars, daily schedules, written planners and gather together insurance and medical cards, etc.
- Join a support group: Use the Eldercare Locator – a public service.
Allow time for positive relationships in your life: Spend time with family and good friends, limit negative interactions, surround yourself with those who care about you.
- Have a “ME” day: You deserve your own mental health day to relieve and rejuvenate yourself; read a book, schedule a spa day or a mini getaway – consider hospice respite care if you plan a longer trip.
- Take care of your own health: Make sure to get your annual physicals, keep up with any recommended immunizations, try to slip in some exercise and get good quality sleep.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: This does not make you a “bad” caregiver-no one can do it alone.
- Look into services: Many local senior centers offer services.
- Remind yourself that your loved one needs you and what you are doing is only adding to their quality of life.
There are numerous resources available and we just need to know the shortcuts and how to take advantage to help make us happier individuals and better caregivers.
For more information on signs of caregiver burnout, prevention strategies and ways to manage your role, schedule a consultation with a speech language pathologist at: www.longevitybrainbody.com/book or contact [email protected] if you would like additional information pertaining to this subject matter.