Serving as a primary caregiver for a loved one is a role some of us will fill in our lifetime. If you are a family caregiver for your loved one, we know that you are essential to hospice care at home, providing care beyond the medical team. However, caregiving can be difficult and stressful, bringing feelings of grief, guilt and frustration.
Balancing conflicting demands of your loved one and family members and a lack of privacy can lead to caregivers finding themselves with less time to care for their own mental and physical health. This can lead to fatigue, isolation, burnout or illness.
The tips below provide ways to care for yourself and ensure that you can provide the best care for your loved one.
It is important to find ways to care for yourself as well as your loved one. Eating properly, getting enough rest, and exercising regularly contribute to a sense of well-being and improve your physical health.
Joining a caregiver support group or seeking counseling can offer a connection to others and allow you to express your feelings, worries and thoughts. These support groups or counseling sessions are opportunities to talk about the challenges you are facing.
Take a Break
Caregiving involves irregular hours and little time away. When you need a break, take it. The hospice team can help to provide volunteer respite care to allow time for a break for yourself. For longer breaks, speak with your care team about arranging inpatient respite care for your loved one.
Simplify Your Communication
Sending updates about your loved one’s status to extended family and friends through phone calls, emails and texts can be tiring. Simplifying communication lines to send updates to a few contacts and allowing them to share the updates with extended family can help ease the burden on you.
Nurture Positive Relationships
While you may feel overwhelmed, taking time to talk with close friends and family can help you through stressful times. Spend an evening with a friend who is a good listener. Limit your interactions with negative people who will drag your mood and perspective down.
Ask for Help
Make a list of specific things that you need help with, such as grocery shopping, laundry, errands, lawn care, or housecleaning. When someone offers to help, you can share your list with them.
For more information about Ohio’s Hospice, visit www.OhiosHospice.org or call 1.800.653.4490.