Manning Regional Healthcare Center

Taking Care of the Caregiver

As life expectancies increase, medical treatments advance, and an increasing number of people live with chronic illness and disabilities, more of us find ourselves caring for a loved one at home. Providing care for a family member in need is an act of kindness, love, and loyalty. Day after day, you gift your loved one with your care and attention, improving their quality of life, even if they are unable to express their gratitude.

Son caring for fatherRegardless of your circumstances, being a family caregiver is a challenging role and likely one that you haven’t been trained to undertake. Like many caregivers, you probably never anticipated this situation. However, you don’t have to be a nursing expert or a superhero to be a good family caregiver. With the right help and support, you can be an effective, loving caregiver without having to sacrifice yourself in the process. That can make family caregiving more rewarding – for both you and your loved one.

The following are tips to help you support your loved one, as well as help you maintain your sense of self:

  • Accept your feelings – caregiving can trigger emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, resentment, grief, and helplessness; it doesn’t mean that you don’t love your family member, it means that you are human.
  • Find caregiver support – you can’t do everything on your own; ask family and friends for help and have a backup plan.
  • Connect with your loved one – stay calm and relaxed and take time each day to connect with them. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, focus on the person.
  • Attend to your own needs – take time to relax daily, talk with someone, journal, feed your spirit, get enough sleep, eat regular meals and exercise.
  • Take advantage of community services – research potential services in your community: local Area Agency on Aging, Veteran’s services, adult day care, home health and personal care services.

Life-changing events often give people the chance to grow. They may help people see what’s most important to them. They use their strengths to support their loved one. And, they learn more about themselves along the way. If you need assistance in your caregiving role, call Senior Life Solutions at MRHC at (712) 655-8262.

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