Even for the most resourceful family caregivers, tending to the needs of a loved one with a chronic condition or memory loss is a lot to bear. The emotional, physical and financial burdens involved with caregiving make it easy for caregivers to experience burnout, stress and anxiety over their roles. Without knowing how to take care of yourself and acknowledge when you need support, caregiving can quickly have negative impacts on your life. “According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 83 percent of senior care in the US. is provided by unpaid family members or friends,” says Kelly Carroll, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “That means there are thousands of caregivers going through similar experiences every day. That also gives us hope and inspiration from so many family caregivers who do amazing jobs. By looking to those who know how to stay positive through the ups and downs of caregiving, you can find solutions that fit your life and learn how to stay strong.”
Coping with the Challenges of Caregiving
Part of staying strong is understanding your weaknesses. Many caregivers experience burnout because they don’t stop to take a rest or accept help when it is offered. Recognizing when you start to get tired, frustrated or stressed allows you to monitor your energy levels and do what you can to re adjust your approach. The Mayo Clinic’s article “Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself,” mentions some common signs that it may be time to take it easy:
- Feeling physically and emotionally exhausted
- Constantly worrying or feeling overwhelmed
- Uncommon sleeping patterns (either too much or too little)
- Significant change in weight
- Frequent headaches or body aches
- Feeling hopeless, irritable or helpless
- No longer enjoying your hobbies
- Abusing alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing socially from friends and family
You may notice these symptoms of caregiver stress if you haven’t taken good care of yourself recently or neglected your own health while caring for your loved one’s. Remember, you can’t give when you’re empty.
Staying Strong with Positive Coping Techniques
In order to avoid burnout and stay strong in your caregiving role, you can practice positive coping techniques and implement them throughout your daily routines. The Cleveland Clinic compiled several examples of how to infuse positivity into your lifestyle and take good care of yourself in the midst of caring for another. Consider the following:
- Set realistic expectations – Recognize your limits when it comes to the kind and amount of care you can provide. Set realistic goals to accomplish, and don’t hesitate to accept help from family and friends. No one can – or should be expected to – do it all on their own.
- Become educated – The more you know about your loved one’s needs, the better care you can provide. When you understand your loved one’s condition, you can stop worrying about unnecessary things and focus on the important aspects of their health.
- Accept your situation – Accept the reality of your loved one’s health conditions. If they have a chronic illness or progressive cognitive disease like dementia, recognize that caregiving will not result in curing your loved one, but instead providing them the highest quality of life possible.
- Acknowledge your feelings – It’s alright to have negative feelings of bitterness, frustration or guilt. These emotions are normal, and they don’t make you a bad caregiver. Acknowledge what you’re feeling then let them go, reminding yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
- Maintain connections – Don’t neglect your social ties with friends and community. It is healthy to have connections with someone other than your loved one. You need people with whom you can go to for support and advice as well as comfort and reassurance.
- Find healthy outlets – Discover ways to cope with the daily demands of caregiving that are positive in nature. Maintain a healthy sense of humor and a good attitude. Find ways to relieve stress that have additional benefits, such as journaling, exercising or dancing.
- Take care of yourself – Do your best to stay healthy and take good care of yourself. Find time to exercise, eat a balanced diet and develop a healthy sleep pattern.
- Make time for joy – Find time each day to do the things you love. Catch up with friends, pursue a hobby, read a book and enjoy what makes you feel fulfilled. You don’t have to lose who you are beneath your role as a caregiver.
- Use respite care – A local senior living community, as well as a sibling or other family member, can provide temporary respite care for your loved one. Utilizing respite care every once in a while can give you the time to run errands or take a much-needed break.
- Find a support group – Caregivers benefit from talking with those who understand what they are going through. Many senior organizations host support groups for family caregivers to meet with one another, share ideas and gain support from each other.
We’re Here for You
If you feel like you’re struggling to stay positive as a family caregiver, give these techniques a try and reach out to the team at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens. We’re committed to serving seniors and those who care for them. Call us today for the guidance and support you’re searching for.
Inspired • Engaged • Fulfilled
Offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care, YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens was designed specifically with residents in mind. We know your life is shaped by family, friends, hobbies, passions and more, so we’ve created a community where you can enjoy comfort, independence and engagement, all while having the peace of mind of 24-hour support and the freedom to define your own lifestyle. Here, we shape each thing we do around you, from your routines and interests to your choices and preferences, to create an inspiring lifestyle that fits YourLife™ perfectly. Because we are completely shaped around you, our residents get more of out their lives. With exceptional care delivered by a dedicated and compassionate team and a fulfilling lifestyle full of choice and convenience, residents have the support they need to live as independently and engaged as possible. Each day holds something new for residents. Whether they are enjoying our exclusive activities, learning something new or simply engaging in our YourStory programming, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. Do you enjoy making new discoveries and trying new hobbies, simply want to continue the hobbies you love or enjoy some time to yourself to relax? At YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, the choice is up to you. Contact us to learn more! Call us at 561-246-6102 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.