Being a family caregiver is very rewarding, and while it isn’t always easy, knowing you’re helping someone you love can make it worthwhile. The responsibilities of a family caregiver can be overwhelming at times, and it’s important to find a balance to be able to provide the highest level of care.
Whether you’re new to being a family caregiver or a seasoned veteran, we’re sure you’ve noticed there is a learning curve to providing these services to a loved one. Oaks Senior Living would like to give some advice to help you navigate the family caregiver journey.
Understanding Your Loved One
Caregiving isn’t only tough on the family caregiver, but it can also be difficult for the recipient of care. If you’re taking care of a loved one, it is likely he/she requires assistance that may make them feel as though they have lost some or all of their independence.
While taking care of your loved one, you should seek to better understand their opinions and feelings during different situations. Provide them with a relaxed and open environment where they can discuss their care, and you can ease their concerns.
Ask Questions & Research
For some, undertaking the role of family caregiver is due to a parent or relative developing an illness or medical condition. Attend a doctor’s appointment with your loved one, ask questions about the condition, and learn what you or your loved one can do to help ease symptoms.
You should also spend some time researching your loved one’s condition to better understand the reality behind it.
- Does it require more care and attention than you can provide?
- Will the condition continue to worsen?
- Are their levels of medical care that you are unable to provide?
You should answer these questions to fully understand the condition and ensure that family caregiving is the appropriate care choice for your parent or loved one.
Time-Management & Organization
The average time a family caregiver spends providing care amounts to about 24.4 hours a week. However, nearly one in four family caregivers report providing over 40 hours per week. Being a family caregiver can be time-consuming, making time-management an essential skill to utilize.
Caring for your loved one as you balance your personal life can cause family caregivers to short their own health. Skipping meals due to time constraints is a common occurrence, but one way to help combat this habit is by managing your time and prepping your meals ahead of time. We encourage you to read one of our previous blogs to learn more!
Organization is another key component to being a successful family caregiver, especially considering you are likely organizing for your loved one, as well. Medication management, appointments, and regular errands need to be prioritized and organized to provide the highest level of care to your parent or loved one.
Taking Care of Yourself
Though taking care of yourself as a family caregiver may be at the bottom of your to-do list, it is important. If you don’t listen to your own needs and desires, you may quickly develop caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can occur while handling the duties and responsibilities of a family caregiver.
Avoid caregiver burnout by seeking support groups or short-term care services, like respite care. Respite care services allow your parent or loved one to experience a senior living community with no commitment while allowing the family caregiver a break from their duties to recharge. At Oaks Senior Living, visitors utilizing our respite care services have full access to everything our family-operated communities offer, from our full calendar of activities to our thoughtfully crafted amenities.
These services can last short enough for you to run errands throughout the day or long enough to provide you with a vacation while your loved one is cared for by professional caregivers.
Oaks Senior Living has communities located throughout Georgia. For more information regarding senior health or caregiving, we invite you to visit our Oaks Senior Living blog and like our Facebook page for additional resources and articles!