Tips for Caregivers Being a caregiver is an extremely difficult job. Trying to balance your own needs with your concerns for your loved one can be as stressful and overwhelming as it is meaningful and rewarding.
Following are some tips about how to best manage the situation:
•Educate yourself about the condition – Check books out from the library, conduct online research and talk to health care providers to learn everything you can about your loved one’s condition. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to identify issues and resolve problems. •Join a support group – There are thousands of online and “real life” support groups for caregivers. Talking about the situation, asking questions and sharing experiences can relieve stress and provide solutions. •Take time for you – Whether it’s going for a walk, watching a movie or just spending the evening alone, you must make the effort to look after yourself and your mental and physical health. Don’t feel guilty about needing a break! •Express yourself – Writing in a journal, painting a picture or creating a collage can be excellent ways to express your feelings and gain relief from stress. Even if you think you have no artistic talent, you might be surprised at what you create when you use your mind in a different way. •Write everything down – Become an organization machine! Making a schedule of treatments, appointments and chores will help you both better manage your time and make it easier to ask for help. It is also a good idea to jot down a running list of questions about the condition and its treatment to bring to your loved one’s next medical appointment. •Get out of the house – Research and plan activities that you and your loved one can enjoy together. Whether it’s a simple trip to a coffee shop or a relaxing drive to a beautiful view, taking a break from the daily grind will give both of you peace and perspective. •Empower your loved one – It can be tempting to do everything for your loved one, especially when you see him or her suffering, struggling or in pain, but it is best for both of you if you encourage self-reliance. Involve your loved one in the process as much as possible and request his or her help when appropriate. If you have found other caregiving strategies or methods that have brought you success, we would love to hear from you! Please e-mail info@NationalPainFoundation.org.