Striking a balance as a family caregiver

More and more adults are finding themselves in the position of being a family caregiver for a parent, spouse or other loved one. According to the AARP’s 2015 Caregiving in the U.S. report, nearly 35 million Americans have provided unpaid care for someone over the age of 50 in the last year.

Caregiving is a noble and important part of familial support, but it can also be very challenging. If you find yourself in a new role as a caregiver, it is important to focus on finding a balance between caring for your loved one, and living your life.

Here are a few tips to help navigate the demands of serving as a family caregiver and still take care of yourself:

Take a time out: Caregivers can spend so much time worrying about the needs of others that they forget to take time for themselves, and become rundown or burned out. Take a few minutes for yourself every day. It can be something as simple as going for a walk, grabbing a coffee or watching a few funny videos on YouTube, and you’ll come back refreshed and reinvigorated.

Be mindful of your own health: Make sure you are eating well, getting enough exercise and keeping up with your regular doctor’s appointments. You can’t be an effective caregiver if you are not well yourself.

Familiarize yourself with local resources: You are not alone, even though it may feel like it sometimes. There are local organizations and resources available to help you plan for the future and ease some of the worry.

Don’t be too hard on yourself: It’s easy to get discouraged when you are juggling many responsibilities, especially if you are a caregiver that is also working and maybe even taking care of children or grandchildren at the same time. You can’t control everything, and you can only be so prepared. If you and your loved ones are happy and healthy, it really doesn’t matter if the house is a mess, or you are eating spaghetti for the third night in a row.

Ask for help: Take advantage of your support system. By accepting help from friends and family for certain tasks like grocery shopping or rides to doctor’s appointments, you allow them to ease some of the strain and keep you from feeling alone. Know your limits, and understand that there may come a time when your loved one requires care that you can’t provide.

If you have any questions about caregiving or resources available in the Phoenix area, please visit our website, or call 480.878.4112 to speak to our Care Manager Kristie Chadwick today.