Busch’s Guide for First-Time Family Caregivers is a three-part series. This is the second post of the series. Read the first post here.
Are you a first-time family caregiver? If so, you’re not alone (nearly 40 million Americans are), and you’re about to experience the many emotions of caregiving.
Despite the fulfillment it brings, many caregivers are often surprised by the amount of stress they feel. In the midst of assisting with daily activities, their own family and a full-time career, caregivers rarely take time for themselves. This leaves them stretched thin, which can result in negative outcomes for both parties.
To alleviate common caregiver stressors, we explain how to ask for caregiver support below.
1. Ask for Help
Caregivers often feel isolated as they take on more responsibility. To reduce feelings of stress, depression and/or anxiety, find a time to meet with close friends and family to discuss your loved one’s care.
As the primary family caregiver, it’s your job to ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can’t do it all alone. Divvy up responsibilities that don’t require your full attention—like stopping by the grocery store or picking up a prescription—to give yourself a much-needed break.
2. Join a Support Group
If you’re looking for a safe place to connect with others who truly understand what you’re going through, join a local support group.
Members can exchange practical information on caregiver challenges and offer possible coping strategies and solutions. While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times, remember to take advantage of the many resources available to help you best care for your loved one.
Support groups also reaffirm the importance of self-care. By learning to recognize signs of emotional, mental and/or physical exhaustion, you can take the necessary steps to prevent caregiver burnout with the help of your peers.
>>> Do you know a Northeast Ohio caregiver who deserves a special recognition for his or her selfless hard work? Nominate a caregiver for Busch’s monthly Caregiver Award program.
3. Evaluate Senior Housing and Care
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with caregiver responsibilities, it may be time to start researching senior living facilities for help. From in-home health care to hospice and palliative care, there are several senior housing and care options available to relieve caregivers of daily duties.
>>>Related resource: Find senior care facilities located in Cleveland and surrounding areas in our blog post.
To start, talk with your loved one about their wishes and needs. What are their feelings about long-term care? Have they thought about financial and legal planning? Having these conversations will help you evaluate your options and identify the appropriate housing and care for your loved one.
Family caregiving is the ultimate act of love. While you may not receive praise for your selfless work every day, you can take pride in knowing you cared for your loved one when they needed you most.
Preplan to Save Time Money and Worry
Did you know there’s a way to document final wishes and map out arrangements ahead of time? It’s called preplanning, and it gives you and your family enough time to sit down with an aging loved one to discuss end-of-life wishes. Together, you can design a meaningful and memorable tribute that represents the life and legacy of your loved one. For more information about preplanning, download the Seniors' Guide to Funeral Arrangements.
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