One element of in-home caregiving that is often overlooked is caring for the caregiver themselves. The following are 8 tips to follow in regards to caring for the caregiver, whether the caregiver is another family member or yourself.
Tip #1: Make sure the caregiver is eating nutritious foods
A caregiver needs to keep up their energy and health; one of the best ways to do this is to eat a healthy, nutritious diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, and other nutritious foods.
Tip #2: Let the caregiver have regular personal time
Caregivers often become so wrapped up in caregiving that they don't have any personal or "me" time in which they can do something for themselves outside of their caregiving role. Personal time can include going out to see a movie or even something as simple as taking the car for a ride around the block to listen to some favorite music in peace. Having personal time every day can go a long way towards reducing stress and burnout.
Tip #3: Make sure the caregiver is getting check-ups
A caregiver shouldn't neglect their own physical or mental health, which means they should also be regularly seeing a doctor, dentist, and other healthcare providers to keep their own health in top shape.
Tip #4: Caregivers need regular exercise
Caregivers, like anyone else, need regular exercise every day; ideally, at least 30 minutes of physical activity. Walking, riding a bike, or using an exercise machine are all excellent options.
Tip #5: Allow caregivers a stress outlet
Caregivers are often placed in high-stress situations on a regular basis, so allowing them an outlet for their stress is essential in helping to reduce stress build-up. Outlets can include joining a therapy group, posting on an online caregiver forum, or having a friend or family member who will listen to them vent their stress.
Tip #6: Make sure that caregivers get out of the house
Not leaving the house can cause serious caregiver burnout. Caregivers should be getting out of the house regularly, even if it’s for something as simple as a trip to the grocery store.
Tip #7: Caregivers need to ask for help
No one person can be a caregiver on their own—trying to be a sole caregiver almost always leads to serious burnout. Caregivers should feel that they can ask for help from friends and family, so look for opportunities where a caregiver can be assisted—such as a family member coming in twice a week to sit with the patient so the caregiver can take a walk.
Tip #8: Caregivers need to know the signs for stress and depression
Caregivers are at a higher risk for developing depression and stress, so looking for the signs in themselves or others is important. Excess sleeping, feelings of hopelessness, panic attacks—anything that points to high stress or depression should be noted so the caregiver can receive the proper help.
Remember, caring for a caregiver is just as important as caring for the loved one! For more information on how to get respite help for the family caregiver, reach out to Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte today.