Caring for the Caregiver
As I’m sure every caregiver will agree, caregiving can be equal parts frustrating and fulfilling. Check in calls and visits, appointments and errands, shopping and bills, medications and care—the list can often feel larger than the available time.
Add in some emotion, family dynamics, and factor in all the other needs of your personal and professional life, and you can quickly see why caregiving can be one of the most challenging roles a person can undertake.
However, with some focus in a few key areas, the stress of caregiving can be dramatically reduced for both caregiver and recipient. And with the right mindset, caregiving can also be a beautiful and bonding experience.
There is no “perfect plan” for caregiving and every family’s journey is unique. At Benton House we encourage caregivers to practice 4 things:
1) Practice Pride – Be proud of yourself and your commitment to the person in your care. Being a caregiver is one of the most noble endeavors a human being can undertake. But because your work is often done behind the scenes and with discretion it can at times be unnoticed or underappreciated. Know in your heart the work you are doing is the work of angels. Be proud!
2) Practice Patience – Be patient with the person in your care, remember sometimes it is just the stress and fear of change that is causing frustration. As important, be patient with yourself. There is no perfection in this process, you are doing the best you can do.
3) Practice Peace – Caregivers must find time to rest, relax and recharge. Calm caregiving is better caregiving. And caregivers must find peace by understanding circumstances or difficulties may require additional support, but that is a symptom of the challenges at hand, not a reflection of the caregiver personally. Put another way-give yourself a break and get help!
4) Practice Planning –The single best way for you to feel more confident and comfortable with caregiving is to get knowledgeable and develop good plans. At Benton House we have helped thousands of families reduce risk and find solutions at home through our complimentary “Confident Caregiver Review.” Regardless of where you seek support, do develop a good plan for current needs and future changes.
Balanced Caregiving is Better Caregiving
Sometimes caregiving comes suddenly, like jumping into a pool. This is usually because of a health crisis or other emergency.
More often caregiving comes gradually, like slowly wading into deeper water. Small acts of support gradually become larger in scope or greater in number.
Regardless of how you entered your caregiving journey, it’s important to remember you need care as much as the person you love. And you need to seek to balance your needs, and your other important connections, along with your caregiving.
One important step in finding caregiver balance is to do a candid assessment of the support you are providing and the impacts of caregiving in other areas of your life. This allows you to more readily determine when to add support and to set realistic goals for the care you can provide.
Balanced caregiving is better caregiving. We believe so strongly in this principle we offer two caregiver specific assessments as part of our Confident Caregiver Workbook.
The first helps you determine how much care you are currently providing so you can then plan for changes in need. Be forewarned, caregivers are often shocked at the amount of total time when they consider all the various areas of support.
The second quiz helps you determine how caregiving might be impacting other areas of your life. For example, caregivers often miss their own health appointments to care for others. This assessment helps you identify areas that may need focus.
Of course, we are happy to help in this one area of concern or review all 5 key risk areas in the Confident Caregiver Workbook with you. Just let us know how we can be of service.