How to ease the burden of caregiving
Updated: May 22, 2019
Many caregivers work so hard because they want to keep their older adults at home. We often hear people say “I promised my mum I’d never put her in a home” or “Dad told me he never wanted to live in one of those places.” Besides, assisted living is expensive.
As long as the situation is safe for all involved, keeping your loved one at home is a great thing to do. But caregiving is also one of the hardest and most stressful jobs you’ll ever have, I know because I also look after my mum with Alzheimer’s. That’s why it’s so easy for caregivers to get burned out or develop serious health conditions.
Pacing yourself so you’re not running at 120% every day helps you stay in good health so you can keep caring for your loved one. We have 5 tips to reduce the caregiving load and decrease your stresses so you can keep your parents at home as long as possible.
1. Understand how much care is needed
It is possible that “you can’t see the forest for the trees”. When you’re busy doing various caregiving jobs, you don’t have a chance to think about the overall view.
To see how much care your loved one really needs, make a list of all the things you have been doing for your loved one.
An easy way to do this is to get a notepad and make notes when you do something for them. After a couple of days, you’ll have a clear view of what your loved one needs help with and at what times of day.
2.Get extra help
A good way to reduce your workload and reduce stress is to get some extra support . Of course, this isn’t the easiest thing to do or you would have done it already!
What is important is to keep looking for different ways to save time and get tasks off your to do list. It may take some time and effort, and creative thinking, but it will be worth it when you’re finally able to take regular breaks for yourself and spend time with your own children and grandchildren. It very important to not forget about their time too.
3. Be realistic about the care you’re able to give without harming your health.
Now you can evaluate the differences between the amount of care needed and the amount of care you can realistically give to them without harming your health. Most likely, there’s a mismatch – which is why you’re feeling so worn out.
Ask other family members to commit to helping out on a regular basis. This could be with caregiving, or if they’re not able to handle some personal care they may be able to help with items such as chores, errands, finances, or insurance claims.
Enroll your senior in an adult day centre which will help them to get involved more in the local community and keep them busy; socialising and care for them, much-needed rest for you.
Hire other carers to help
Find a volunteer companion in your area, or reach out to respite care services
Ask friends to do as many errands as they can – anything that helps you save time and energy is worthwhile.
4. Reduce financial pressure
Caring for an older adult is very expensive and leads to a large financial burden. Reducing those caregiving costs helps decrease the amount of financial pressure and stress you’re under.
5. Share the responsibility
You might be doing such an brilliant job that nobody thinks you need some extra help. If you have siblings or close relatives, ask if they’ll take on their share of responsibility so you can get a break yourself with your loved one.
Having family share responsibility could be anything from moving your mum to your sister’s house for a few weeks, taking turns with your niece every 3 months to live with grandma, or having your sister stay at your house for a week every few months so you can get some time to yourself.
If they’re willing to help, be creative and flexible. No solution will be the best, but any help you can get will lessen the stress and workload for you.