It was just another business-as-usual day when you got the call. An older family member had been injured in an accident/gotten a dire diagnosis/been found wandering lost. Whichever scenario tracks closest to your own circumstances, you surely can relate to the trauma arising from the pivotal incident.
While caring for your loved one, it is also vital that you take care of yourself and your own needs. Not doing so can bring on caregiver burnout, leaving you in a dark and much worse place. The suggestions below may alleviate some common problems caregivers face.
Streamline communication about the patient’s condition
You may be deluged by requests from friends and family for updates about your loved one’s condition. But repeating the same thing over and over via phone, text or email can be exhausting. Fortunately, there are several websites like PostHope, MyLifeLine and CaringBridge that allow for mass updates to all interested parties with whom you’ve granted access.
Get regular breaks from caregiving
Whether it be once a week or even once a month, arrange for a competent person to step in and perform your caregiving tasks so you can recharge your batteries.
Keep expectations real
Yes, it could be 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and you’re still clad in your pajamas from the night before due to a series of mishaps with the patient. Accept your limitations and don’t try to live up to impossible standards.
Realize you don’t have to go it alone
There are local resources to tap, spiritual support from your faith community and financial and legal guidance from professionals in those fields. By developing a group of trusted advisers, you will always have someone to turn to when there are decisions to make.
Being a caregiver of a loved one during their final illness may be the hardest thing you have ever attempted. But it also can be rewarding to help them with this transition.