Each carer’s circumstances are different. In the US, some take care of an adult (48.9 million), others take care of a child (3.9 million), yet others have both children and adults in their care (12.9 million). They have to balance the needs of their families with those of the sick person. Careers and studies may be put on hold, and usually, some sacrifices have to be made.
The carer is so busy caring for others that they tend to neglect their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. This can lead to exhaustion, depression, and ill health. We look at how the carer can ensure that their needs are not ignored.
You may have been thrown into the caregiver role without any forewarning. Once you catch your breath, take time to ponder on the gift you and your loved one have been given of sharing time. You may not always have this opportunity as a loved one’s condition deteriorates. While the sick person is dependent on you, you can demonstrate your loyalty and love every day and give them a better quality of life. Accept this stage in your life and have gratitude for it.
Remind yourself that you are dealing with a loss of your dreams. For example, you envisioned a healthy baby growing up to succeed in life, get married, and have children of their own. A child with certain health issues may never achieve those milestones. Or you may have dreamt of a long and fulfilling retirement with your spouse who is now terminally ill. You may experience anger, grief, despondency, resentment, or anxiety. If these feelings are overwhelming you, speak to a therapist as soon as possible.
Finding Easier Ways to Provide Care
Where it will not result in a negative health outcome, carers should feel free to find more effective ways of taking care of their charges. Giving an infant store-bought pureed food may not be ideal as a daily diet but is certainly permissible once in a while. Using Simply Thick thickener to alter the consistency of liquid food and drink to make it easier for the patient who has dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) to maintain their nutrition intake is preferable to dealing with the effects of this condition.
Making use of a dishwasher instead of handwashing dishes is a good way to preserve energy for critical care aspects. If you have seen how easily two nurses change the bedding in a hospital, you will appreciate the help of your partner when they get home from work.
Build time into your daily routine for yourself. Get your partner to read a bedtime story to your child while you take a shower. After getting them clean, fed, and comfortable, let them enjoy a bit of television while you do a quick round of aerobics. Have set mealtimes for your loved one and yourself. Nutrition and exercise are needed if you are to cope with the demands of caring. Once a week, arrange for someone to fill in for you. While you may have to use some of this time for grocery shopping and other errands, always include 45 minutes to sit at a coffee shop and read a book.
You don’t have to do everything alone. You need not choose the hard way for everything. Take care of yourself and you will be able to take better care of your loved one.