Statistics show that 72% of carers have suffered mental ill health as a result of caring for a relative, and 61% have suffered physical ill health because of their caring role.
Helping a loved one with, for instance, personal care like bathing and getting dressed can be stressful and physically demanding; in addition there are various other responsibilities and demands. Caregivers providing care for their relative do so because they want to help them, but the realisation of just how hard it can be physically and mentally is difficult for many people to accept so they push themselves beyond what could reasonably be expected of them.
To avoid the stress of being a caregiver becoming too much, it is so important that coping strategies are put in place. This will not only help to protect the wellbeing of the caregiver, but it will help the caregiver provide better care to their elderly relative.
Are You Burnt Out?
Early mornings, late nights and being the person who provides all the care for your loved one is a clear road to burnout if strategies aren’t put in place to relieve some of the pressure.
Some family caregivers may convince themselves they are just a bit tired or a bit stressed, but if it is in fact burnout – a state of chronic stress – then exhaustion is just around the corner, which benefits nobody. Burnout can happen when a carer hasn’t protected their own mental and physical needs for a long period of time. As carers often feel guilt at thinking about themselves, they don’t give themselves permission for time and space for themselves.
Burnout can be avoided, and it is so important for the health of everyone involved that it is.
To avoid burnout for the good of yourself and your relative, take a look at these coping strategies:
Make Time For You
This could be time to go for a coffee with a friend, time to go to the cinema, or even just time to take a bath. Get some respite from other trusted caregivers and make time for yourself.
Exercise and eating well help you to remember that taking care of yourself matters too. It will also help contribute to better mental health.
Reach Out For Help
Speak to your GP, friends and family or look at home care options. If you get the support you need it can make caregiving as easy as is possible.
Manage Your Time
It can feel like every spare second is taken up caring for your loved one, but if you manage your routine and time more effectively, there could be a more efficient way to manage your schedule.
Caregivers can often feel they don’t deserve time to themselves or any special attention or support. Please do remember that you matter and your feelings are valid. Follow our tips above, and get in touch for more information on getting the support you need to be as happy and healthy as you deserve, and to provide the best possible care to your loved one too.
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