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Tips For Caregivers: Remembering to care for yourself

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

Caring for the elderly can be one of the most challenging jobs in the world. Though at times it can feel extremely rewarding, there are also times when you feel under-appreciated, burnt out and depressed. You have to be in excellent emotional and mental health in order to provide this care and still enjoy your day to day life. Here are ten (10) tips to help you achieve this and create the balance you need in your own life:

  1. Keep a professional distance. All caregivers know how easy it is to become close to your client and your client's family. This can be a gift and a blessing, but it can also be detrimental to your emotional well-being. Remind yourself frequently that you are a skilled professional and you have a job to do.

  2. Know your limits. Be realistic about how much of your time and yourself you can give. Set clear limits, and communicate those limits to doctors, family members, and other people involved.

  3. Accept your feelings. Caregiving can trigger a host of difficult emotions, including anger, fear, resentment, guilt, helplessness, and grief. As long as you don’t compromise the well-being of the care receiver, allow yourself to feel what you feel.

  4. Confide in others. Talk to people about what you feel; don’t keep your emotions bottled up. Support groups are invaluable for family caregivers, trusted friends, family members and you may also benefit from seeing a therapist or counselor. For professional caregivers sharing and relating experiences with others in your field will ease your stress.

  5. Take breaks. Caregiving is a job and respite is you’re earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often. If it’s your profession schedule your work week to a maximum of 45 hours.

  6. Be aware of your emotional health. Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.

  7. Accept help. When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do.

  8. Listen to your body. Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Be good to your back, you should not be lifting more than 75lbs/ 34 kg.

  9. Allow yourself to grieve. Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams. They may not be who they use to be but once there is life there is hope and opportunity to create beautiful memories

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