Caregiving is a little like parenting. No one can really tell you how to do it. You can research and learn techniques and skills, but at the heart of the issue, it really comes down to instinctually dealing with the day to day surprises that will come from out of the blue. These are the times that the books and the degrees get thrown out of the window are you are forced to do what you think is best for that situation. However, having a few tools in your belt are going to help you through any instance.
- Know what you are up against.
Most people know that knowledge is power. If you know what are you are in for, the more likely you will know how to deal with it when something happens. Talk to their doctor, the pharmacists and any resource you can find.
- Understand that you do not have to do this alone.
Getting help can be the most powerful resource a person with multiple things on their plate can do. Respite care can free up your time that will allow you to juggle the plates that need to stay in motion. Simple things like running errands or cooking dinner can be accomplished with a few hours of respite. In the end, they get the care they need and you complete the things that you need to do.
- Learn the shortcuts.
Snack bars, making meals in advance, tidy the house as you go. Looking for ways consolidate other chores will help add time to your day and ultimately let you get more things done.
- Take a day.
The one thing that cannot be said enough is that you must always find a way to distance yourself from the situation every now and then. Caregiver burn-out is the number one problem with taking care of our loved ones. Do what you need to do in order to step back for a while is a must.
- Remember who they are.
Caregiving is not usually something that people look forward to or even think about beforehand. When things get hard the number one way to alleviate some of the frustration is to remember that the person you take care of now most likely took care of you at one point. It is that cycle of love that truly makes this job possible.