Being a Caregiver is a challenging role to take on, regardless of how much you want to look after your loved one.
Whether you’ve gradually provided additional support to a family member or you’ve become a caregiver following a sudden and unexpected accident, you’ll need to ensure you have the right framework around you.
Understanding the challenges you’ll face as a caregiver will help you to overcome them. Furthermore, it will help you to learn more about the help and assistance available to you. If you’re currently in a caregiving role or you anticipate becoming a caregiver in the near future, take a look at these top tips for dealing with the challenges you’ll face:
1. Access financial support
Being a caregiver can be a full-time role, which means you may need to resign from your workplace or reduce your hours. Of course, most people are reliant on their salaries to pay their bills, which means you could face financial obstacles when you become a caregiver.
Fortunately, you can access some financial support while you’re providing care to a loved one. The rules regarding financial assistance vary from state to state, so it’s important to find out what you’re entitled to receive.
2. Get the right equipment
If the person you’re caring for has physical disabilities, you’ll need to ensure they have access to the right range of mobility aids and equipment. From hoists and walking frames to raised seats and knee scooters, there are plenty of options available. Many people find that electric wheelchairs are one of the most useful pieces of equipment when it comes to mobility. They’re foldable and convenient, as well as being relatively lightweight and easy to use.
Getting the right combination of equipment will help the person you’re caring for, as well as yourself. When you have access to mobility aids, for example, your loved one can maintain as much independence as possible. In addition to this, you can provide mobility assistance without putting yourself at risk of injury.
3. Plan respite care
No-one can be a caregiver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even if you want to be. The physical and emotional toll of providing care means you’ll need to schedule regular breaks so that you can take time off and decompress. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that your family member has appropriate care in place while you’re taking a well-deserved break.
If you have other family members or close friends who are able to offer support, they may be able to step in and provide care. Alternatively, you may choose to invite professional caregivers into your home while you’re not there.
4. Get a support network
Having a support network as a caregiver is vital. As well as ensuring you have access to the practical support you need, you can rely on your network to provide you with the emotional support you need too. Often, people turn to family members and friends in order to access the emotional assistance they need. However, this isn’t the only way to access support.
There are many online support groups and even face-to-face groups which consist of caregivers. With regular meetups, you can get to know other people who are in a similar position and talk to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Being able to share your worries, frustrations and achievements can be cathartic, motivating and uplifting, so be sure to seek out people you can connect with.
5. Seek medical advice
Depending on the level of care you’re providing, you may be responsible for arranging medical appointments for your loved one. If so, you’ll need to stay on top of their schedule, book appointments when necessary and possibly attend the consultation with them. If you’ll be attending the appointment, you may find it helpful to take a list of notes or questions with you, so you can be sure to cover everything that’s relevant.
However, it isn’t just the person you’re caring for who needs to have their health needs met. As a caregiver, it’s vital to take care of yourself too. Many caregivers experience fatigue, exhaustion or burn out because of the demands of the role, so be sure to prioritize your own wellbeing. With regular check-ups and preventative medical care, you can enhance your own wellbeing too.
Becoming a Caregiver
As a caregiver, you’ll face a wide range of challenges, so it’s important to know how to access help when you need it. Many caregivers find it tough to admit they’re struggling, but identifying the help you need and asking for it will help you to fulfil your role to the best of your ability. What’s more – building a strong support network, minimizing your own stress levels and getting regular respite will ensure your loved one receives the best level of care possible.