How To Be A Good Caregiver

iStock_000005358051SmallIf you are in a position now or soon to become caregiver to your aging parents or other family members, you are a very special person.  Plus, you are in good company.  The majority of caregivers are women, married, 45-55 years old and still working.  As one of the 54 million others in the United States with this job, you have many challenges ahead.

Your care will make a major difference in the life of your loved one, but it can also be very stressful and exhausting for you.  How can you be the best caregiver to someone else?  First and foremost, take care of yourself.

EXERCISE

Get some personal exercise daily.  It only needs to be in blocks of 10 minutes throughout your day, but aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise a week.

EMOTIONAL STATE

Be mindful of your emotional state.  Not only do you want to be sure the person you care for is not depressed, but be sure you are not having feelings of hopelessness or lingering sadness as well.  See your doctor if that becomes a problem.

DECISION MAKING

Let your loved one make their own decisions, if possible.  This will prevent you from feeling totally overwhelmed with this responsibility and keep your loved one more independent.  Therefore, they can decide what to wear, what to eat and when to go to bed, for example.  If there is a responsibility you can give them, like caring for the plants, walking the dog or helping prepare meals, this will keep them engaged, useful and prolong autonomy.

ASK FOR HELP

Get help if you need it.  The answer to the question, “Is there anything I can do?” is always “Yes.”  Use a helping hand for getting groceries, cleaning the house, offering companionship, etc.  Remember, there are services in your local community as well that offer respite care, adult day care and home health care.

 

It’s important to recognize if you are being effective as a caregiver.  If you’re someone with patience, are compassionate and nurturing and have the time, you may be just the right fit.  Otherwise, utilize the professional services that are available to you.  Caring for someone with a chronic illness or disability can be very challenging, but with strong support and proper resources you can take pride in your efforts and provide the kind of atmosphere that will be both nurturing and healing for you both.

Written by: Amy Sherman, Transformation Coach

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About the Author

Amy Sherman is a Coach, Therapist, Author and the founder of the Baby Boomers’ Network. She is the author of the digital program, “Distress-Free Aging Transformation Package and the book, “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!” Go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com to sign up for her free ezine and to receive a Special Report on Overcoming Adversity. Amy can be reached at amybethsherman@gmail.com or 561-281-2975.

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