How to Give Caregivers the Care They Need

You probably know somebody who has taken on the role of caregiver, or you might be one yourself. This means you know firsthand how much time goes into the labor of love that is caregiving; time that can eventually drain a person’s physical and mental well-being if it isn’t balanced by activities that keep the caregiver happy and healthy. Caregivers often think of themselves last, and they frequently need a push from somebody to take a break.

If you know a caregiver who could use some rejuvenation, or if you are a caregiver yourself and feel burnt out, here are some ideas to recharge.

Get active

caregiversCaregiving can be exhausting, and it can require quite a bit of physical strength and endurance. But, that doesn’t mean it is as fulfilling as sticking to an enjoyable exercise regiment. Some ideas for fun activities include dance classes, walking in a scenic park, or taking a leisurely bike ride alone or with a friend. It’s important to stay healthy as a caregiver and, when you don’t have a lot of time to devote to exercise, it’s essential to do activities that are enjoyable so you can get a mental break at the same time as you do something good for your physical health.

Be alone

Sometimes all a caregiver needs is some time alone to read a book, watch a good movie, or just meditate in stillness. If you are a caregiver who needs a break, seek out somebody to help you in your role as caregiver. Enlist another family member or hire a caregiver to take charge of dinnertime or some other time of day a few nights a week so you can get away undisturbed. And if you are friends with a caregiver who seems stressed out, step in to help. Don’t just offer to help, though. Be assertive by saying something like “I’ll come over to take care of dinner on Thursday night so you can go see that movie you’ve been talking about.” Caregivers often feel like they need to handle everything on their own and can feel guilty for handing over what they feel are their duties. Stepping in authoritatively will ease the guilt and help your friend. In the meantime, you will get a chance to bond with the person needing care, which will be rewarding for both of you.

Stay connected

It is crucial during this chapter in your life to stay connected to your caregiving friend, or, if you are the caregiver, to keep connected to your outside world. It can be easy to get drawn into caregiving and neglect your other relationships, but this can lead to anxiety, resentment, and depression. If you are a caregiver, make a point to see friends once a week, or if that’s not possible, talk on the phone with at least one friend a week. If you have a friend who is a caregiver, be sure to give him/her a call frequently to check in, and listen when your friend needs to vent.

Caregiving can be burdensome when you are exhausted and struggling to balance that role with your life, but when you are refreshed and taking care of yourself, it can be a wonderful way to bond with your loved one. For more ideas on how to care for yourself or your caregiving friend, contact us.

At the David York Agency, we are dedicated to providing the resources, advice, and high-quality home healthcare services that can make caregiving more manageable. For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the support you need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For additional information about the risk factors of heart disease or about getting in-home care for a loved one, contact us today.