Being a family caregiver is full of ups and downs, especially if you are new to these responsibilities. It’s important to find a balance between your caregiving responsibilities, your day-to-day responsibilities, and your own wants and needs to avoid caregiver burnout.While this can seem overwhelming, with understanding and preparation, you can overcome challenges and provide the highest level of care to your loved one. The Pavilion Senior Living would like to share some advice that will help you better manage your new role and navigate the caregiver journey.
Research and Understand
One of the first steps to being a successful family caregiver is to research and better understand your loved one’s health conditions. The more familiar you are with the situation, the less anxiety you’ll feel about your new role, and the more effective you can be. To better understand your loved one’s health, we encourage you to speak with their primary physician and ask questions.
- What is their medication routine?
- Are there dietary restrictions you should be aware of?
- Are there certain activities or habits your loved one should be doing, i.e. physical exercise, mental stimulation, etc.?
- Is this a condition that will progress and worsen over time? If so, what does that mean for you as the caregiver?
Take Care of Yourself
One of the most common occurrences for a family caregiver is neglecting themselves to focus on care for their loved one. Your loved one’s health is important, but so is yours. If you neglect yourself, you can start to develop feelings of caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can come with serious side effects towards your health and the level of care you provide.
Symptoms of caregiver burnout can include:
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Change in appetite or weight
- Change in sleep pattern
- Weakened immune system
Taking care of yourself is a crucial component in providing proper care to your loved one. Once you develop caregiver burnout, the care you provide will likely decline. For more information, we encourage you to read our previous blog on how to prevent caregiver burnout.
Listen & Understand Your Loved One
Another important facet of being a family caregiver is to understand your loved one’s wants, needs, and goals. Providing a loved one assistance doesn’t mean taking away from his or her independence. Be sure that your parent or loved one is comfortable with the assistance you are providing. Your main priority should be to maintain your loved one’s health and safety and improve their quality of life. Allow for open communication between both parties so that emotions and concerns can be addressed.
Know Your Options
If your loved one’s condition is expected to progress over time, it is essential to know your options at the beginning of care. There may come a time when you are no longer able to provide the highest level of care at home, so you and your loved one should determine what those next steps will be. Whether that is hiring an in-home care provider or transitioning to a senior living community, like The Pavilion Senior Living.
One option that new family caregivers should be aware of is respite care services. Respite care is a form of short-term senior care that can place your loved one in the care of a senior living community. These services allow your loved one to experience all the amenities and events offered at the senior living community, with no long-term commitment necessary. Respite care can vary in length as well, giving you time to run errands or even take a vacation with the peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in a safe and secure environment.
Knowing your options is also important in regards to your health and caregiver burnout. If you begin experiencing caregiver burnout, we encourage you to seek the help of local support groups.
The Pavilion Senior Living offers assisted living, memory care, and respite care services in Lebanon and Carthage, Tennessee. For more information regarding our communities or our services, contact our team of experts.