When you are taking care of a loved one it is easy to focus on them so much that you lose sight of your own needs, Or perhaps you are well aware you’re not taking care of yourself but feel you can’t take the time and effort away from those in your care. Keep in mind that your ability to care for someone else is eroded by poor health and emotional outlook.
Staying informed is always a best practice so that you can provide the optimum care to your loved ones. We hope that these caregiver tips can aid you by helping you to care for yourself so that you will have the time and energy to care for those you love.
- Make sure to manage your stress levels
- AARP notes that increased stress levels deprive people of energy and focus. If you are unable to manage your own stress level, not only may you have difficulty recognizing issues with those under your care, you will also have less emotional energy to empathize with them. Your mental well being is important both to yourself and to those around you, and giving yourself even 5 minutes to leave a stressful situation may give you the needed boost to strategize on how to finish your day.
- Studies show that stress can also negatively affect patient care. Healthcare professionals such as nurses who have little control over their environment tend to make more mistakes. Although adequate training and assisted care ); procedures can help to lower risks of patient care and medical errors, striking at the root issue of chronic stress in the workplace was highlighted by researchers.
- Chronic stress can take many forms, but implementation of stress management techniques such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, praying, and taking a positive attitude can assist you in dealing with the stress of patient care in a positive manner.
- Know your personal risks and limitations.
- Life is full of unexpected challenges. You may have unexpectedly become a caregiver, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to take care of yourself. As noted in our blog, seniors are at greater risk than younger individuals. (http://www.coltenadultcare.com/senior-caregivers-at-greater-risk-than-their-younger-counterparts/) Knowing your personal limits, such as if you tend to get ill during the winter, or that you burn out when giving care for too long while being unassisted, can support your care giving as well as your personal health.
- Know your own limitations. If you lack knowledge as a family or professional caregiver, organizations like the Caregiver Action Network can give you support that can improve your knowledge and coping skills. Networking with others will help you gain knowledge of best practices, as well as find help if you are overwhelmed.
- Know when to ask for professional help. Some people do not have the time or skill set to care for their family members, even those they greatly love. Opting for assisted living may be the best decision possible when time, distance, or knowledge limit your ability to provide the best possible care.
These caregiver tips are only a starting point; every individual and care giving environment is different. Best practices and provided skill sets will adapt and change with time. Feel free to contact us at Colten Adult Care with your own caregiver tips, or to give us any comments or input on your own experience in patient and assisted living care. We would be happy to meet you and your loved one’s particular care needs.