Advice For Caregivers
Becoming a caregiver for your elderly relative may seem like the obvious solution when they begin to need additional help, but it is also important to consider your own well-being. Caregivers, particularly if they are older themselves, can risk their own health and forget the importance of looking after themselves when they are very involved in caring for another family member.
Common Problems Experienced by Caregivers
There are many adverse effects that caring can have on a carer. Being deprived of sleep can be a major issue, particularly when it carries on over a long period of time.
Failing to eat a properly balanced diet also happens to a lot of carers, who find that they do not have the time to cook themselves healthy meals. Simply grabbing a quick snack in between caring tasks can mean that you do not have the recommended intake of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. In time this can adversely affect your general health.
Lack of time is also frequently blamed for a caregiver’s failure to exercise and look after their body. They may neglect their health by missing medical appointments. When they are ill, they can be unable to rest and recuperate. Depression is also fairly common amongst caregivers and they may turn to inappropriate coping strategies such as excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
Asking for Help
It is common for caregivers to think that caring for their relative is their sole responsibility. In reality, they are doing their best for the person who needs care by asking for help, in order to keep themselves healthy and able to continue their care giving role.
There is a great deal of help available for caregivers, beginning with having someone to share everyday problems and issues. Family members will often understand and offer a listening ear and local support groups can do exactly what they say – provide support for carers. Being able to discuss difficult issues as they arise can make them seem less daunting and offer different ways of dealing with problems.
Professional support is also available, so you should discuss problems with your relative’s doctor, nurses and social care staff. Sometimes organisations that are specific to the disability or illness that your relative has, for example Parkinson’s UK or the Alzheimer’s Society, can offer advice and solutions to specific problems.
To keep well enough to carry on caring, arranging short stays in respite care homes for your relative can make all the difference. Many private care homes offer respite care, and this can be extremely beneficial. Respite care homes sometimes offer a week’s stay every six or eight weeks. The knowledge that the caregiver will be able to have regular breaks from caring can make it much easier for both the caregiver and the person they are looking after.
Sometimes it is necessary for the person being cared for to move into permanent residential care, so you will need to broach the subject sensitively with your relative. Choosing a residential home is something that you can often do together, so if you are searching for care homes in Crawley or your local town, why not arrange a visit to any suitable homes with your relative, to choose the one that will best meet their needs.