Like many family caregivers, you were probably thrust into your role with very little guidance regarding what to expect. While you might have received some advice from others who have been in your shoes, you might have never heard the following six things all caregivers should know about their new role.
1. You May Feel Conflicting Emotions
Everyone loves to talk about how much time they enjoy spending with their senior loved ones. After all, no one wants to admit they feel guilty, sad, or resentful of their role. However, you will quickly discover that for every laugh there is an occasional frown. Caregiving is challenging, and you need an outlet for expressing negative emotions. Find a friend, support group, or counselor you can talk to when times are hard.
In Colorado Springs, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.
2. Caregiving Is Stressful on the Body
Unlike many other jobs, family caregivers are not given a physical before they begin their work. However, you may already have health concerns such as a back or knee injury that could get worse as you begin to handle more responsibilities. Caregivers are also at risk for catching colds and other infections due to a lowered immune system and more exposure to germs. Practice healthy habits such as proper lifting and hand washing to avoid falling ill.
3. You Are at Risk for Social Isolation
Your friends would never abandon you during a time of need, but they may not know how to handle your constant rejections to their invitations to spend time together. Over time, your busy lifestyle could cause some of your closest relationships to fade away. Make sure to set aside time for socialization. Just as your loved one needs to see new faces, you also deserve an occasional lunch date with your favorite friends.
4. Your Loved One May Refuse Your Assistance
You know having family help with your loved one’s care is the best option. However, your loved one may refuse your assistance with certain tasks, which may be due to a fear of being a burden or out of embarrassment that he or she cannot do things independently. If your loved one is adamant about you not doing certain things, ask him or her to consider having a professional caregiver do them. This is a win-win solution that preserves your loved one’s dignity without putting him or her in unsafe situations.
If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and are looking for professional home care, Colorado Springs Home Care Assistance should be your top choice. Our dedicated and compassionate caregivers are committed to helping older adults manage their health and enjoy a higher quality of life in the golden years.
5. Everything Will Change Just When It’s Going Right
The first few months of caregiving are often the most challenging, but you may find that caring for your loved one becomes easier over time. However, your loved one’s health may quickly take a turn, and you will discover you must start all over again with a new care plan. You can’t change what happens, but it does help to know it’s normal for seniors to experience changes in their health. Be prepared to adapt to changing situations and you will never be caught off guard.
6. Burnout Prevention Requires Some Serious Work
Respite care can help you take a break from your duties so you can relieve stress. However, you may still find it difficult to relax during your time off. Create a list of activities that help you feel good, and try out new things during your time off to find out what works the best for relieving stress. From going for a hike to painting in an art class, the effort you put into getting some time to yourself may make a difference in your mental outlook.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Colorado Springs Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Call us at (719) 822-1229 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.