4 Helpful Tips for Caregivers
Often, caregivers find themselves part of the sandwich generation, caring for both children and aging parents at the same time. This can be a rewarding part of your life, paying back the care and love your parents gave you in your childhood while watching your own children grow and interact with their grandparents. However, it's not unusual for caregivers to feel burnt out after a while. This guide provides four helpful tips for caregivers.
1. Create a Support System
Caregivers don't have to do all the caregiving work alone. Life gets busy, and asking for help from a support system can free up your schedule so you can enjoy time with your loved one and tend to your own needs.
How to Build a Support System
The most important part of building a support system is creating a team of people you can rely on so that when you need help, you can ask for it.
Children in the Home
If you have children at home, you have your own built-in support system. Asking children to contribute with age-appropriate chores can help lighten your load while also teaching them responsibility and compassion.
Adult Family Members
If your elderly loved one has paperwork, medical appointments, and other care that requires an adult, outsourcing to siblings and other adult relatives can take some of the load off you. Relatives can help with driving to appointments or even taking over care for an evening so you can go on a date with your spouse or spend a night with friends from time to time.
If you're religious, your faith-based community may also be a source of support. Peers in the community can help by babysitting your kids or planning meal trains, for example.
2. Live in the Present
Caring for your family and an aging loved one can be stressful sometimes. Focusing on living in the present, enjoying and cherishing the time you have with them, can help keep you grounded.
Living in the present is all about focusing on the moment, not the past or the future. Here are some tips for caregivers to stay in the present moment, even when the work and stress pile up:
- Avoid multitasking: It's counterproductive to juggle several tasks at once. Give your full attention to any task as you complete it.
- Find gratitude in the situation: There is always something to be grateful for, even when things seem tough. Focus on the positives, such as getting time to talk to your loved one while you care for them.
- Accept the moment for what it is: Every moment is temporary. Learning to accept that there may be nothing you can do to change the current situation can help you surrender and make peace with what you can't control.
- Try meditation: If you've never meditated before, try finding guided meditations online and implementing them into your morning routine. Mindfulness meditation is particularly useful when learning to live in the present.
3. Pool Resources
In many cases, circumstances dictate that caregivers live in a different state from their elderly loved ones, and creating a network that keeps a watchful eye on your aging loved one can provide you with much-needed updates. This may require you to pool resources to afford care. Pooled resources can be physical things, such as money and food, or more abstract concepts, such as time and attention. Some caregiver tips for pooling resources include:
- Pooling resources within the family: Your family may be your loved one's first resource. Seeking an elder law attorney can help create contractual agreements that dictate who provides what support and when.
- Pooling resources with government care programs: Government-funded programs can provide additional resources for elders in need of caregiving support. Many states even offer financial support to family members in caregiving roles through Medicaid waivers. Some states may cover respite care to give you a much-needed break.
4. Automate as Much as Possible
Automating and outsourcing as much work as possible can help relieve your day-to-day stress. For example, groceries can be delivered, and paying for housekeepers or lawn maintenance can lighten your load.
If your elderly loved ones require products for their care, paying for subscription services, such as Nexware's incontinence products, means that you'll never have to worry about running out of products your loved one needs for their care. Even better, it's a form of caregiving that can be provided while living out of town, if necessary.
Other products can be automated as well. Many big-box retailers offer the opportunity for people to subscribe to all sorts of household and care-related products, such as:
- Over-the-counter medications
- Skin care products
- Cleaning supplies
- Hygiene products
The Bottom Line
Caring for a senior loved one can be tough, but it's possible to simplify the role by implementing the caregiving tips above so you have more time to spend with them. These tips for caregivers include building a strong, reliable support network, having a present-focused mindset, pooling resources to cover expenses and delegate care, and automating whenever possible.
If your loved one has incontinence, many of these tips can become even more important to remember as additional care is needed. Start your subscription today, and Nexwear can help by making sure your loved one never runs out of incontinence products.