Whether you are supporting an aging loved one or helping a friend recover from a serious illness or injury, taking on caregiving responsibilities puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders. While you will always want to do what is best for this person, you are now the primary figure in their lives, and they will rely on you to support them through a range of duties – from cooking, cleaning to even administering medication.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that caregivers might want to bear in mind.
- Do your research. While your loved one will undoubtedly appreciate your efforts and patience during this time, doing a little research into their condition is a great way to ensure you are both on the right track. For example, you’ll then know what steps you can be taking to facilitate a speedy recovery or simply ensure that they are comfortable.
- Check if you’re eligible for funding. Caring for others is a profession within itself – and as such, it’s important that you are compensated for your time and efforts – especially if you need to take time away from your career to provide for your loved one. Thankfully, there are various programs in place, such as the CDPAP program, which is designed to ensure you receive fair compensation for your work. This program allows recipients to choose a friend or family member as their official healthcare provider, meaning they’ll get paid instead of having to support them on a voluntary basis.
- Take care of yourself too. When you dedicate so much of your time and energy to others, it can be hard to care for yourself, especially when you know a loved one needs assistance urgently. However, to be able to support your friend or family member, you must first be able to take care of yourself. Don’t let your own health and happiness become sidelined in a bid to help others, as this will only lead to caregiver burnout. Instead, put together a self-care routine and ensure that you stick to it.
- Be patient and compassionate. While your friend or family member will no doubt be entirely grateful for your support, they may not always show it. If they are uncomfortable, in pain, or even simply frustrated, expressing gratitude may not always be first on their list as they are simply preoccupied with what they are dealing with. As a result, you must be patient and compassionate during this time. If they need to rant, be a shoulder for them to cry on. Remember, while you may be seeing some of the effects their condition has on them and those around them, this is different than living with it. So, while you can emphasize, you can probably not understand how they feel entirely.
- Have fun together. One of the major benefits of your friend/loved one being able to select someone they know as their carer is that you already have a relationship. This means that you can skip over formalities and help them feel better by simply having fun together. While you might not be able to stick to your usual routines, find ways to bring a smile to your friend’s face, and you’ll soon notice a difference in their mood.