When you become a caregiver of someone you love, the priorities in your life are sure to shift. Those who are caring for a parent often juggle careers, household chores, raising children and other obligations along with the responsibilities of caregiving. With all of these important duties demanding their attention, caregivers often neglect their own health needs and personal desires.
If self-care isn’t something that comes easily to you, experts suggest attempting to change your habits and behavior step by step. The Family Caregiver Alliance® outlines several tools for working toward a lifestyle of good self-care:
- Reduce Your Personal Stress – How you let stress affect you and how you respond in stressful situations is entirely up to you. Take steps to learn a healthy approach to stress, such as identifying sources of stress, deciding what you can and can’t control about the situation and finding ways to reduce your negative feelings.
- Set Realistic Goals – Just as setting achievable goals for your loved one’s care can help you avoid feelings of stress and defeat, making realistic goals for your own care will make it easier to start feeling better sooner. If your long-term goal is to get to the point where you feel comfortable taking a two-week respite from caregiving, make short-term goals, such as taking a few hours off once a week or taking your loved one to an adult day center for the afternoon.
- Seek Solutions to Your Problems –Taking the initiative to fix a problem can give you a sense of control and confidence in yourself. Once you identify a problem – for example, you feel as though you have to do everything yourself – start brainstorming possible solutions and try them out. Try asking a friend you trust to pick up your loved one’s prescriptions, or hiring a home care nurse to help out with administering their injections.
- Ask for and Accept Help – When a family member or friend asks how they can help you, don’t reject their willingness to make your job easier. Although, be conscientious about what you ask a helper to do. It helps to keep a list of tasks on hand, so if someone asks to help (or you seek out help), they can choose what works best for them.
- Communicate with the Doctor – Don’t neglect concerns about your own health, and take the time you need to make appointments with your doctor before a condition becomes serious. Additionally, don’t forget that health care professionals are great resources for guidance when it comes to the medical questions you have about caring for your loved one.
- Start Exercising – It may be the easiest thing to let slide, but exercising is also one of the easiest ways to keep you staying healthier longer. Try taking just 15 or 20 minutes each day to get some exercise and increase your heart rate. Even going for a walk with your loved one or vacuuming the floors can help you get in a good chunk of physical activity.
More than just your loved one’s caregiver, you are an individual deserving of happiness and fulfillment. If feelings of guilt, unworthiness or extreme stress keep you from taking the time and resources to care for yourself, it’s important to recognize those feelings and start breaking down the barriers they create.
The Art of Living
At Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, we’ve mastered the art of living. We’ve perfected the balance of personalized support and an uplifting lifestyle, helping our residents experience independence, joy, and meaning every day.
Offering supportive independent living, assisted living and memory care services for families in Venice, Florida, Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay was founded with one simple, yet profound goal – to create a community worthy of our parents. In all we do, we are guided by the principles of family, culture, and engagement, working to represent the remarkable way of life our families deserve.
The essence of our community is made up not only of mere aesthetics but an artfully designed lifestyle to bring out the best of what each day has to offer. From dedicated care that respects residents’ individuality and dignity to a lifestyle that nurtures their love of life, Tuscan Gardens was built to be more than just a residence, but a place to call home.
To learn more about our comfortable, elegant community, contact us today!