How to Overcome The Challenges of Being a Caregiver
Most caregivers take pride in taking up the opportunity to be one. They find the experience extraordinarily gratifying and consider it a chance to be there for the people they love. However, as tender and loving caregiving can be, it can also be stressful and, in some cases, burdening for the caregiver.
Here are some of the significant challenges most caregivers face, and quick tips on how you can overcome the challenges of being a caregiver and handle better.
Managing Time can be Tricky
Time management is one of the most significant concerns for all caregivers, especially if caregiving isn’t the only task involved. Parents of disabled children or caregivers, for elderly individuals, may have to juggle home and work responsibilities. And making sure all the functions, are carried out on time can get difficult to handle.
Tip: Create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Creating a routine can help you manage and sort out different tasks better, and there’ll be fewer hustles. Then you’ll be able to sort out everything calmly.
Emotional and Mental Stress
Caregiving comes with its share of emotional and mental stress, especially if the concerned person is a close family member. A good percentage of caregivers report health concerns as a reason of caregiving. When they are dealing with chronic health conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Tip: Take some time out for yourself and get in touch with nature to rejuvenate and relax. Most caregivers tend to forget themselves in the entire process. Taking some time off is not just recommended, but also necessary to help curb emotional and mental stress of caregiving.
Financial Strain is a Possibility
Caregivers often have to put away their existing job, and work obligations, which leads to a financial crunch. This financial strain that comes with caregiving can be a bit stressful and an added concern.
Tip: Look up some ways to work remotely. Hire a professional caregiver to help you out with certain things. These can help reduce the financial burden considerably.
Feeling Isolated is Common
Caregivers have been found to be at a high risk of depression due to the isolation that they face. Their duties and responsibilities, towards the individual they’re taking care of, can take up so much of their time. They hardly get the chance to interact with anyone in their social circle. And it can affect them mentally and leave them feeling alone.
In fact, a study conducted by the Stanford Center on Longevity, and the Stanford University Psychology Department, also found that family caregivers have a risk of poor well-being and are more likely to be depressed.
Tip: Stay in touch with friends, relatives and family members both virtually and physically. Take some time out and interact with other people in the world every week. Take a chance to spend some time and stay in touch with what’s happening in the outside world too.
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It can be Physically Demanding
Caregiving can be physically demanding in many ways. Apart from the task of juggling many things together. Caregiving needs the caregiver to help the ill. Individual carry out their day to day activities. Using the facilities, eating, getting up from the bed, etc.. If the individual is an elderly, those tasks can get extremely physically demanding. A study published in the JAMA Network in 1999, also highlighted the psychiatric morbidity in the caregivers of patients affected by disabilities.
Tip: Having a helping hand assist you in tasks that need physical strain is a right approach.
Asking for Help can be Stressful
A lot of caregivers are ashamed and afraid of asking for help. They feel it is their full responsibility to take care of the individual and asking for assistance, they sense, may question their competence and also be a sign of weakness. They may feel that they aren’t able to provide the best care, for the individual if they decide to ask for help and assistance.
Tip: Seek help. Take the first step towards sharing the overwhelming task. Doing it will finally help you reduce the guilt, and accept that it is okay not to be able to do everything yourself and that you’re human.
They May be Sleep Deprived
Sleep deprivation is another big issue experienced by most caregivers since the sleep cycle of the individual, and the caregiver can get all messed up, and keep track of the sleep-wake cycle can put an emotional and physical strain on the individual.
Tip: Seek help from someone and reduce the burden of caregiving on yourself, mainly if your sleep schedule is being affected, since it can affect your health as well in the long run. Set aside your time to get at least 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep, to allow your body to get its much-needed rest.
You can Feel Unsupported
Caregivers can also end up feeling unsupported and practically invisible at times. They may feel like they’re doing a lot and giving so much of their time and energy, but they tend to feel alone, and no one gives them their wants and needs. A lot of times, their social lives also take a toll, which is why they may feel like they’re in isolation.
Tip: Take help from other family members or hire someone to help you with the process of caregiving. Not only will it help divide the work and make the entire process more comfortable, but it’ll also make you feel more sorted, calm and better in general rather than feeling bad.
Lack of Privacy is a Concern
Lack of privacy can be another primary concern for caregivers, especially when it comes to disabled children, or older adults since they require near-constant care and attention. Things can be even more stressful if it is a small home since it can be challenging, to set boundaries to get away from constant interactions.
Tip: Make sure you get some time alone every day to allow yourself to think and feel outside of the process of caregiving. It can be a short walk on the beach, grabbing a quick coffee with a friend or anything at all. If you have a small home, try to create a little personal space for yourself- like a retreat that’s your own, where you can think and be yourself for a while.