Important to Keep Your “Batteries Charged”

The stress and work to provide care to elderly family members can be exhausting. Specific, normal tasks such as changing clothes or bathing can seem endless. Completion may be quite difficult, time consuming, and inefficient. Daily tasks may take so long to complete that the “checklist” never gets completed, and the “schedule” becomes seamless and never ending…one task spills into another. Under these conditions, the caregiver never gets a break. Never gets a chance to re-charge.

Caregivers care…that is their focus. But caregivers also need to take care of themselves. Good physical health, and good mental health are required to continue as caregivers.

Here are some things to think about:

Get Your Rest: If you are working too hard, you become exhausted. When you wear yourself out — going non-stop 7 days a week — you risk burnout, fatigue, and illness. At this point, you can’t be of much assistance to anyone! One of the most important things you can do for yourself – and the person you are caring for – is to take care of yourself.

Eat Right: A quick snack is not enough. You should strive to eat and maintain some semblance of a balanced, healthy diet. Eating properly will help keep you healthy, energized, alert, and feeling strong. Take vitamins if you can’t maintain a consistent schedule, or if you don’t get enough nutrition from your food.

Communicate Your Needs to Others: Let others know what you need to succeed and flourish. Don’t assume or expect family members to anticipate issues, logistics, problems, or needs. Ask for help. Let people around you know the things that need to be done — and that on occasion assistance is needed and greatly appreciated.

Stay Hydrated: You’ve heard it before…”drink lots of water“. Your body needs water, and generally people don’t allow themselves enough. Water hydrates your body, which helps maintain your energy.

Accept Help. Although many try, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Home Care Partners is one of many homecare agencies which provides trained care staff for elders at home. Take the time to think about what kind of help you need, and when you really need it. This may be one of the best things you can do for yourself, and your loved one.

Respite…A Needed Break: Make a point of carving out some time for yourself. A luncheon with friends, a movie, or dinner at a favorite restaurant. How about a walk in the park, or on the beach. Simple, short refreshers can do wonders for your attitude and health. Get away, if only for a short break, from your immersion in caregiving. The tasks of caregiving will be waiting when you return with a fresh mindset and perspective.

Get Enough Sleep: This can be difficult when you are on someone else’s schedule. Home Care Partners carefully monitors our care staff hours so as to schedule substitution and avoid burn-out. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Eight hours may be perfect, but may also be impractical and nearly impossible. Take a nap during the day. This can refresh you mentally and physically, and may be just the thing you need to get through the rest of your day.

Exercise: Whether inside or outside, there are simple exercises that can help to keep you refreshed. Almost anything will help. Walk around the block a few times a day when you have a few spare minutes. Sit-ups, leg squats, push-ups all can be done quickly. Try yoga, or something that will exercise your muscles and provide some relaxation. Many people meditate, gaining a calmness through quiet and peaceful surroundings.