Caring for an aging loved one requires significant emotional, mental, and physical resources. It may not be an easy transition to make. However, being prepared and well-informed about what to expect can help you avoid unexpected issues. In this article, we will discuss five ways to get ready for this crucial responsibility.
1. Evaluate Your Capacity
Providing regular care for a loved one can put a significant physical strain on the family caregiver. Before accepting this role, you have to be honest with yourself about your capacity.
To do that, you have to study the needs of yourself and your loved one carefully. For example:
- Is your physical shape good enough to move a disabled family member?
- Does your job allow you to leave at any time to meet the loved one's emergency demands?
- Do you have other family members that need your close attention (e.g., small children?)
On average, a family caregiver spends 24.4 hours a week providing the necessary assistance. Talk to your loved one's doctor about the tools you may need to arrange high-quality care without straining your health.
2. Focus on Self-Care
Many family caregivers don't realize immediately how tough the caregiving process is on their emotional and mental health. While immersing themselves in care, these people often overlook such basic needs as sufficient sleep or a healthy diet. In fact, more than 36% of family caregivers get less than 7 hours of sleep.
Before taking on this important role, you have to think about your own well-being. Consider making time for exercise, meditation, and healthy meals. Don't ignore your own doctor's appointments. They are just as important as your loved one's care.
While it may not seem necessary right now, do some research about caregiver support groups. They can be an excellent opportunity to share your worries, speak to people who understand your situation, and support your mental health.
3. Ask for Help
Becoming a caregiver doesn't mean you have to handle the support of your loved one entirely on your own. You can build a care circle that consists of secondary caregivers. While they don't have to be responsible for major tasks, these people can provide valuable assistance from time to time.
This care circle can include your family members, friends, visiting caregivers, and physicians. Even a neighbor who brings groceries once a week can significantly simplify your caregiving routine.
4. Inform Your Employer
Your employer should know that you are planning to become a family caregiver because it could mean missing work or leaving in the middle of the day due to an emergency. You may need to readjust your schedule, take on remote tasks, or ask a coworker to be on standby for swapping shifts.
5. Start Keeping a Journal
The person in your care is likely to require frequent medical attention. This can range from injecting insulin and taking medication at home to doctor's appointments, tests, and outpatient procedures.
To keep track of all of these activities, you may want to keep a detailed journal. This way you won't miss any important tasks. Meanwhile, such a journal can become a highly useful complementary tool for asking questions and making notes during your loved one's doctor's appointments.
While highly rewarding, caring for an aging family member can be complicated. By preparing for these responsibilities in advance, you can avoid emotional distress in the process.
If, after some time, you feel as if your loved one requires more care than you can provide, don't hesitate to explore other options.
Sarasota Bay Club is a luxury retirement living facility with many options for seniors who need assistance. Schedule a private tour today to learn more about the opportunities we offer.