If a lost one has lost their independence because of health problems, most of us have no hesitation about helping out. However, without much notice or medical training, there are often unexpected challenges related to the caregiver burden.
Soon the caregiver may find that their life seems hardly recognizable. They are putting their career on hold, and personal time is becoming something of a premium. The daily setbacks in dealing with a loved one with dementia begin to outweigh the wins, which can leave to resentment, anger, guilt, and frustration. Isolation and anxiety can become a very real problem. In order to avoid burnout, there are a number of different steps that you can take. In short, they are suggestions on taking care of the caregiver.
Make sure to put your health first
If you have ever been on an airplane, you know that the pre-flight safety presentation tells you that you should always take care of yourself before taking care of someone else. It is not a matter of “deserving” some time to yourself if you are a caregiver, it is about NEEDING regular moments to reclaim some part of your life, to refresh and renew. Try to exercise or at least get outside for 30 minutes a day, a few times a week.
Remember that taking care of yourself takes effort – but it is worth it. Your loved one’s long-term care plan cannot function without your continued well-being
Learn coping strategies
There does not appear to be a correlation between the amount of stress felt by the caregiver and length of time care has been provided (surprisingly). This seems to suggest that our own personal coping strategy (the way that we handle adversity) has more to do with our increased burden than anything else does.
It is important that you do not forget the importance of the role you play in offering care. Even though it might not be the life that you envisioned for yourself, your efforts carry great nobility and value. Do not forget that you are NOT a professional, merely a caring and concerned person who does what they can.
Rather than reaching out for help, many of us internalize our anxiety. This is going to lead to frustration and will never benefit your situation. Some family members or loved one may be waiting on your cue to step in and help, give them the cue they need if you need help.
It is important that we do not expect the impossible. We should not expect someone with age-related dementia to make a full recovery. This is only going to lead to more sadness when the outcome does not materialize. In order to alleviate caregiver burden, it is important to set realistic goals and expectations. Feelings of anger, loneliness, or feeling overwhelmed are normal, you should not feel guilty about those thoughts. Once you realize that you do not have all the answers, you will find that you feel much more comfortable about the situation.