Being a part-time or full-time carer for a loved one or someone you live with takes a toll on you, the relationship, and your general wellbeing. When you are a carer, you can easily get wrapped up in the other person’s life and forget about yourself. This is not good because it can be detrimental for a number of reasons. It can really help you know how to cope with the challenges that come up when living as a carer. The following tips have been put together by those who have nursing home jobs to help you to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
- Take one step at a time
When you become a carer, you enter a new world where even the strongest of people struggle. The new role can just come all of a sudden or gradually. Either way, the new responsibilities can overwhelm you, especially if you start focusing on the past, present, and future at the same time. The best way to deal with the feeling of being snowed under is taking each day as it comes, as cliché as this sounds. You need to focus on the present instead of what is coming because that is how you start feeling more grounded, in control, and confident than you were before.
- Being kind to yourself
The transition period into being a carer is not easy, and as mentioned above, even the strongest will be challenged. You need to always keep in mind that there are some days you are not going to feel good or as if you are not doing enough, but that is okay. Humans make mistakes, don’t stress about it. There might also be a point where the opinion of the doctor doesn’t work well for your loved one, and this is something that you as the carer know best. If this happens, then you can go ahead and contest it if you want. Be confident in what you are doing and take the challenges and setbacks as lessons.
- Putting yourself first sometimes
It can sometimes be hard to look after yourself when you are spending a big part of your day taking care of someone else. You will realize that there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to pay attention to yourself. This is something you need to make sure you do. If you don’t have time to take care of yourself, how can you expect to take good care of others? The level of care is going to be affected being you can get tired and worn out after some time. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. An hour or two at the end of the day or once or twice a week is enough. Use this time to sit down and switch off your mind because it is going to help you a lot. You can make that time even more special by making yourself a hot bubble bath or something you enjoy. You will feel happier and looking forward to it again.
- Recognizing you are a carer
The true transition into the new role as a carer might go undetected, which means you might be missing out on the magnitude of this change. It is until something big changes, like a spouse leaving their job because of the illness, that you start realizing that you are a carer, instead of just being their spouse. It can take time to acknowledge and digest this and it can be a challenging process for those involved. This is understandable because there are negative connotations that come with being a carer. Some see this as a predetermined life for yourself. You can adjust to being a carer and have a more positive outlook by talking with others, whether it is a local care group, friends, or family members.
- Seeking expert advice
You aren’t expected to know everything that comes with being a carer, especially for someone who hasn’t had experience with it before. There is a lot of information out there about the care and care specific to your condition, and it is impossible to know everything. If you are having a hard time with where to get started or how to care correctly, then it is a good idea to contact social services because they will help you. There are many other places you can get advice like local support groups, online forums, and helplines. All of these places will be ready to provide you with all the information you require to take care of your loved one. For those who have been doing it for some time and have started to see added pressure in recent times, it might be better to consider a live-in carer or visiting carer.
- Receiving a full assessment
When you become a carer, there is a good chance that the home has not been specially adapted to make day-to-day life easier, especially if you have to do it from a family home. It is important to receive a full assessment for any situation where you or the person you are caring for needs extra help. The local authority can provide you with a Comprehensive Needs Assessment that is going to include a Financial Assessment to ensure that you get as much help as possible. The small changes might not seem like a big deal, but you will realize that they can have a big impact.
- You don’t have to do it alone
There are ups and downs when you are a carer, and you need to take care while also living your life too. If at some point you feel like you need to offload your worries or questions on someone, then go ahead and do it. When you keep your mind calm and clear, it is going to benefit you both in the short and long term. Sharing a problem with someone else is going to help because it becomes easier to solve.