When you’re a family caregiver, you’ve got to have support for yourself even while you’re supporting your elderly family member. No person is an island and that goes for you, too.
Your Friends and Family
Your friends and family are a huge part of your support system, even if they never lift a finger with any specific task. If they’re supporting you emotionally, you’re going to find caregiving to be that much easier on you. They can listen to you vent, let you know they’re there for you, and just generally be a positive part of your life. Of course, if they can lift a finger or two now and again, that’s even better.
Your Own Doctor
You have got to be keeping up with your own health. That means visiting your doctor regularly and ensuring that your health is as under control as it can possibly be. This is even more vital if you have your own chronic health issues. Make whatever changes you need to make in order to be healthier.
Caregiver Support Groups
Support groups for caregivers are a powerful tool, but sometimes caregivers are reluctant to attend meetings. It might feel like a waste of time when you’re already crunched for time, for instance, or you might feel embarrassed going. The right support group can help to carry you through so many difficult times. You’ll meet other caregivers who are going through the same things you’re going through.
A Counselor or Therapist
You might also want to consider finding a counselor or a therapist that you feel comfortable opening up to on a regular basis. Counselors who are familiar with caregiving are an even better idea. This is an especially important part of your support system if you and your senior have a difficult relationship or if you’re having other difficulties with caregiving.
Having outside help with daily tasks can also be essential. This might take the form of help from agencies that work with the elderly and with caregivers, but it can also be from hiring home care providers. Working with support that has a great deal of experience with caregiving can help you to feel a lot less anxious about your situation. It also ensures you have the help you really need.
Your support system as a caregiver is vital. If you don’t already have one established, it’s time to get one together. Your own support system is going to be unique to you, to your situation and to your senior’s needs as well.