Caregiver stress: 10 ways to handle

Being a caregiver to your loved one is a vital aspect to their well-being, but it can be exhausting, overwhelming, and sometimes thankless. Your loved one may lash out at you and make it difficult by refusing to comply with what needs to be done. Your loved one may see you as the person who has taken away his or her freedom and life choices. Most people do not give up making their own decisions easily. But there are things you can do to keep a positive perspective and lower your stress level.

1. One of the most important things is to take a breath and realize you cannot do it all. It is normal for your loved one to resent their caregiver from time to time as it is also normal for the caregiver to resent the situation. Remember to be patient and respectful.
2. Take a break from caregiving without feeling guilty for taking time for yourself. Find someone to stay with your loved one while you do things you enjoy. Pamper yourself now and then. It will do both of you good.
3. Realize your loved one may not be the same person you used to know. Illness and or dementia can change the person. Give him or her permission to not be the same, to forget, and to do things which do not make sense.
4. Stay active and social. This will allow you to interact with others who may be in a similar situation. They may have suggestions or solutions which will help with your responsibilities.
5. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Exercise as much as possible. Many people find they neglect their own health when they become caregivers. Allowing yourself to be mentally and physically sharp is important as your tasks may increase.
6. If you are not a full time caregiver, visit and call regularly. If possible, plan a family dinner weekly. Your loved one will not feel as isolated and will have something to look forward to.
7. Try to keep your loved one clean and well-groomed. Helping your loved one look good will help his or her mood.  Be honest with yourself about your capabilities and limitations. This will be beneficial to you and your loved one and will allow you to have peace as you make decisions.
8. Congratulate yourself for making a positive difference in your loved one’s life. Remind yourself of the good you are doing.
9. You may feel incapable at times; you may feel that it is somehow your fault that your loved one is declining despite your best efforts, when in reality it is the progression of the disease. Allow yourself to accept help whenever possible. Many resources are available to you.
10. Your loved one may not seem to be the same person you once knew and enjoyed, but he or she is still the same person inside. From time to time, you will see the soul of your loved one shine through. Rejoice and show them your unconditional love.

Thank you to our friends at Seniors Helping Seniors for sharing this informative article.

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