It’s Caregiver Appreciation Week! We would like to give a special thanks to our caregivers and the loved one’s of our clients, who work tirelessly to provide excellent care to our seniors.

Most of us have heard the oxygen-on-an-airplane reference, where we are told to put our own masks on before we help others.  That concept is also important when caring for a loved one. When we don’t take proper care of ourselves during times of great stress, our physical and mental health can rapidly decline.  Here are some ways to care for yourself while caring for someone else:

1. Get adequate sleep.  When you are overly tired, you can become more easily frustrated, forgetful, and unaware of significant changes in your loved one’s condition.

2. Do something for you.  See if another family member, friend, or caregiver can take over for a little while as often as possible so you can go do something that you want to do.  Many of our clients’ families will have us come in so that they can go shopping, out to dinner, to church, or even take a trip out of town.

3.  Write things down/stay organized.  When trying to keep up with appointments, condition changes, and things that need to be done, you can become quite overwhelmed.  Writing all appointments in a planner, making a list of questions for healthcare providers, and making to-do lists will keep you from having to try to remember too many things at once and will likely decrease your stress.

4.  Ask for help.  There are many benefits to sharing the responsibilities of caring for a loved one.  Another caregiver may notice something that you had overlooked or knows an easier way to get a difficult task done.  Whether you have certain days that you provide care or designate tasks among the caregivers (grocery shopping, appointments, laundry etc) your responsibilities can be significantly reduced.  This will allow you time to focus on your personal responsibilities.

Legare Wooten, Stress Free Home Care Corp