In the big picture, being able to provide care for a loved one can be immensely valuable. But at the same time, the staff at Accredited Home Care knows that caregiving can also be a challenge for many people, which is why they are always happy to share strategies on ways to make the process enjoyable, or at least encourage caregivers to keep on focusing on more of the fun parts and not get too discouraged by the less fun stuff.
Caregiving Can Be A Full-Time Venture
Caregiving is sometimes called a marathon vs. a sprint – to many Irvine-area residents, it’s more than a full-time job where you start at a certain time five days a week, do your thing, and go home eight hours later.
Instead, caregiving can sometimes require round-the-clock services every day, including weekends and holidays. In some households, family members, friends or neighbors may pitch in regularly or occasionally, but in many cases, one caregiver may have more of a primary role.
According to the American Psychological Association, caregiving can be a stressful position at times. Watching a loved one’s health progress can lead to a variety of stressful and negative emotions, which can sometimes come out as anger, depression, a lack of caring or simply stress and anxiety.
The situation can cause financial hardships, such as if a caregiver has to cut back at work or quit their job entirely to be a full-time caregiver. Focusing entirely on someone else’s health care and helping them improve their quality of life can sometimes affect a caregiver’s quality of life negatively.
The constant stress and attention required can affect other relationships as well.
Plus some caregiving duties can go on for years which make it even more of a long-term process.
The AARP also uses the marathon vs. sprint analogy to suggest that caregivers will be more positive if they enjoy the journey when possible, rather than focusing only on the pain, anxiety, sacrifice and discomfort.
Part of this can include making the effort to stay informed about the person’s health conditions, including medication needs, therapies, or other treatment options. This knowledge will help understand what they’re experiencing physically or mentally, especially in dementia situations.
Another part is reaching out into one’s community for support, such as respite programs, home health services or support groups. Online support groups are also another way for people in similar roles to connect.
Finding ways to stay positive and enjoy the moment can also go a long way in reducing the potential for burn-out. This kind of attitude may also be appreciated by the person receiving care, rather than a caregiver who is tired and unhappy.
Five examples of staying positive in the Irvine area include:
- Record memories. Spending plenty of time together can be a good opportunity to ask questions or hear stories from the past. Even a person with dementia may still have excellent recall of details that happened decades ago – they just may have problems interacting with present-day circumstances. Perhaps a caregiver can activate a camera or recorder to preserve the person’s memories in their own words, which can be an excellent keepsake in the future and a nice way to share history with family members long after the person has died or even forgotten some of these details.
- Rather than telling someone what to do as part of your caregiving, take a moment and hear what they have to say. What worries them? What are they happy about? What do they regret? What would they like you to do more of? What would they still like to do in their lives? All of these can be good ways to share and grow closer together.
- Explore new talents and abilities. One of the unusual things about some dementias is that people sometimes forget their own skills or mental blocks that have been in place for years, and are willing to simply give something a try anew. This can include art or music, where they may have lived their life not being interested or believing that they couldn’t create their own. People may discover new abilities to them, or simply enjoy being creative without worrying about others’ opinions.
- Enjoy being spontaneous. With a spirit of every day being a gift, caregivers can focus less on planning activities and setting a schedule sometimes. Though the person they care for may enjoy the security of certain surroundings and rituals, it’s also OK to change minor elements of someone’s world just for fun.
- Provide comfort and support first. This means not pushing someone hard to do a certain task or correct them if they say something that’s not true. It could be looking for ways to help the person you’re providing care for.Home health care services can easily integrate with clients who already have existing caregivers. They can provide more advanced therapies or services, such as skilled nursing or wound care. They also can provide some relief to the caregiver.
For more information about these services or caregiving in general, visit Accredited Home Care.