Balancing Life as a Caregiver

Although it may seem nearly impossible to find the time, you can’t expect to focus all your energy on someone else without taking some time out for yourself. You will surely experience caregiver burnout. Neglecting your own needs often results in health problems, along with feelings of depression, loneliness, grief, anger, sadness, fatigue, anxiety, frustration, guilt or fear. It is even harder for an aging caregiver. Added stress can make it difficult to function at home, at work or when caring for a loved one.  Caregiver jobs are rewarding but the stress can unexpectablely hit you at the worse times. You should manage your own health like you manage their doctor schedules.

Get yearly checkups and focus on health conditions like diabetes, heart health and weight management. How you take care of yourself will reflect in how you give care to someone else. Check out these caregiver health tips.

Aging Caregiver

Are you an aging caregiver? Here is the reality. You are getting older and it’s getting harder for you to care for your elderly recipient without neglecting your own problems. To prevent caregiver burnout and injuries, you must remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others. There comes a point when you must give up the caregiver role and try other solutions.

  • Nursing home

I understand it’s a bad economy right now. Although expensive, these are very viable options for aging caregivers. There is 24 hour supervision and nurses available. Usually you can get government resources to reduce the cost to you.

  • Hire a caregiver

if you have to take care of a close family member or parent, please get an extra hand for the manual labor tasks such as lifting or carrying heavy objects. The last thing you want is to get injured. That will not help you or the care recipient. There are caregiver agencies that offer good caregiver assistance to those who need such help.

  • Seek help from other family members or friends

This might seem like you are putting out a burden on others but just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to look after our aging population. This network is also important to provide emotional support.
The caregiver needs must not be ignored. You are not alone in this matter.

Caregiver Burnout

When we commit all our time into taking care of someone else, we forget our problems, both physical and mental. In this case, burnout is when someone feels emotionally and physically drained. You have no more energy or time to give to yourself.

You may notice yourself easily irritated or quick tempered for small things especially towards those close to you. You may feel less enthusiastic for things that used to create excitement.

Caregiver Stress

Although it may seem nearly impossible to find the time, you can’t expect to focus all your energy on someone else without taking some time out for yourself. Neglecting your own needs often results in health problems, along with feelings of depression, loneliness, grief, anger, sadness, fatigue, anxiety, frustration, guilt or fear. It is even harder for an aging caregiver. Added stress can make it difficult to function at home, at work or when caring for a loved one.

Get yearly checkups and focus on health conditions like diabetes, heart health and weight management. Remember your caregiver role and balance your personal life between the two. Prevent burnout by recognizing these problems you may encounter. How you take care of yourself will reflect in how you give care to someone else.

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Home Caregiver

Perhaps the best way to provide personal care to a loved one is to live in the same household. A cooperative living arrangement can be successful and rewarding, with some good planning and the right attitude.

Keep the lines of communication open

Before you decide to share a household, carefully and realistically consider the situation and accept that it will place demands on everyone. Remember, working together to solve problems and respecting one another’s opinions is the basis for an open and effective relationship. Discuss important decisions before a crisis situation occurs. Thinqs to consider:

  • Is this new living arrangement viewed as offering a better lifestyle for everyone, and not a sacrifice made out of feelings of guilt or obligation?
  • How will you handle finances? Consider putting ideas in writing to avoid future uncertainty or resentment.
  • How will household responsibilities be divided? Sharing responsibility will help decrease the burden on any one person.
  • Will traditional roles change when a parent and adult child decide to share living quarters? The child cannot defer responsibilities to the parent, while the parent can no longer command all the control.
  • What will you do if someone decides the living situation no longer works?

A caregiver’s job is not always easy and a relocation to the care recipient’s home might be best for everyone.

Make a smooth transition

Change is difficult for everyone, especially seniors, who may feel they’ve already lost control over a good portion of their lives. If a new living arrangement involves uprooting Mom and moving her to your home, she will need a caring and considerate transition, especially if you live in another city or town. To ease the transition and keep balance, try to maintain personal routines and habits. For example, if she has a pet, let her keep it. If she always drinks soda with her meals, keep plenty on hand.

Respect one another’s privacy

A successful shared living arrangement requires privacy and space. While not always possible, accessible but separate quarters may contribute to success. Can a garage, basement, spare room or another area of the house be converted into living quarters, or can doors be added in the home where there are none? In addition to physical space, independence is also important. If your loved one is able, encourage them to participate in outside activities in addition to those enjoyed with your family. A few suggestions:

  • Check out the local senior center. They offer activities, classes and other social opportunities.
  • Provide ways to continue their participation in personal interests. For example, set up a sewing machine or provide materials for hobbies.
  • Respect established routines, like watching a favorite TV show, taking an afternoon nap or having a traditional
  • Monday morning breakfast with friends.

Focus on the benefits

While sharing a house takes planning, understanding and patience to be successful, it also provides an opportunity for family members to make a profound impact on one another’s lives and enjoy close, rewarding relationships. It can also offer an economy of time, money and other resources.

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Dealing with Elderly Incontinence

Learn to manage incontinence

Incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is a common condition that many caregivers must deal with. It is actually a symptom, not a disease in itself, caused by a wide range of conditions and disorders, including pelvic surgery injuries, certain diseases, infection and degenerative changes associated with aging. Some medications may also cause incontinence.

People with incontinence often experience emotional as well as physical discomfort. There is much that can be done to treat and manage the condition. One of the first steps you should take is to talk a doctor, who can help devise a treatment plan. Here are some additional tips to help you deal with the common challenges associated with incontinence:

Elderly Urinary Incontinence Tips

If you are a home caregiver, make it easy to find the bathroom. Use night lights in the bedroom and hallways, or keep the bathroom light on overnight. Brightly colored arrows or glow-in-the-dark tape on the walls to point the way can also help lessen confusion in the dark.

Many people have accidents because they can’t reach the bathroom in time. Purchase commodes, which is a seat with a opening at the bottom, for toilet use. Consider encouraging the use of a cane or walker to help increase mobility. Create a safe and easy path to the bathroom. Rearrange furniture, and remove clutter and other obstacles such as unsafe area rugs. Also, stairs may make it harder to reach the bathroom in time.

Incontinence Products

In case of a bed time incontinence accident, get yourself a waterproof bed sheet protector. They provide ample coverage of your bed and prevents moisture from leaking and soaking into the mattress. Buying a cheap and affordable bed sheet protector can save you from replacing an entire mattress or sheets.

Buy Waterproof Bed Sheets Protector For Urination Accidents

Straining to get in or out of a chair or bed may put added pressure on the bladder and cause accidents. Chairs with sturdy arms on the sides help provide leverage to get in and out easier. Avoid rocking chairs if the person has difficulty getting out of them. Consider an automatic handicapped lift chair that helps one sit and stand with minimal effort.

Allow adequate time and privacy in the bathroom to completely empty the bladder. Remove wet clothing immediately after an accident and rinse as soon as possible to cut down on odor. Can’t rinse right away? Store in an airtight container or plastic bag with a room deodorizer placed inside. Create a schedule of regular trips to the bathroom. Start by going every two hours, and slowly increase the intervals over several weeks.

If accidents are happening near the toilet, is it because the person finds it difficult to sit down on the toilet? A raised toilet seat elevates the toilet height to a more comfortable level. Also, think about adding wall handrails to make things even easier.

If you feel awkward or unqualified to do these tasks, you can always hire a caregiver for the job.

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