People often think of caregiving as mostly hands-on care. It involves tasks like bathing, feeding, transferring and toileting. However, caregiving is more than caretaking. Caregiving tends to the whole person and all their needs. A family caregiver is an advocate for their loved one. As such, you might have to do things like manage their finances, schedule appointments and coordinate care.
An advocate speaks up, and you may need to ask the doctor to explain the care instructions one more time so you and your loved one truly comprehend. Advocacy is making phones calls about insurance claims and filling out applications for senior housing. It’s is the reason you have a list of your loved one’s medications and doctors at hand in case of emergency.
An advocate is a champion. Like the majority of family caregivers, you will probably do some research online to learn more health conditions. You may donate to the medical cause underlying your loved one’s need. You or other family members might participate in organized walks and other events to find a cure or bring awareness.
An advocate supports, encourages and cajoles the person who needs care. However, people sometimes get so wrapped up in their caregiving role, they neglect to care for themselves.
Make caring for yourself a priority. Here are four words to remember about CARE:
Collaboration – Reach out to others for support and assistance. You might be great at completing forms, but not so good with bathing or toileting. Lean into your strengths and know your own limits. Ask for help from family and friends, and be your own advocate!
Activities – Life is more than medical appointments and meal preparation. Make the tedious chores more fun for you and your loved one. Sing a song or tell a joke during personal care that might be awkward or embarrassing. Also, find time each day for calming activities you enjoy, such as reading a book, doing yoga or taking a nap.
Respite – Caregiving can become an all-consuming 24/7 job. Taking a break from caregiving is important. Home care, can help you find time to run errands, get a manicure or go to a movie. Other community resources might provide the break you deserve – such as a support group, Meals on Wheels, or even a free concert at the local library.
Enthusiasm – Embrace your role as a caregiver. Having a positive attitude about family caregiving can foster a sense of well-being. Find a way to laugh at the mistakes, embrace the failures and enjoy the moments. Be grateful for the time you have together with your loved one.
Home care is a practical way to advocate for yourself and your loved one. Trained caregivers can provide assistance with personal care tasks, transportation, light housekeeping and meal preparation. Check out our downloadable about the benefits of in-home care. Count on ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care for the help you need.