You’ve heard of the three R’s of education: reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. You probably know about the three R’s of recycling: reduce, reuse and recycle. Having a list of three R’s can help us recall and prioritize what is most important.
So, let’s consider implementing another set of three R’s for family caregivers. These three tips can help you reduce family caregiver stress and prevent caregiver burnout.
- Reflect – You may feel overwhelmed by the many challenges of caregiving for an elderly loved one. Take a step back and think about how you can reduce and reorganize the load. Can you simplify the daily tasks, the weekly chores and the holiday routines? Make a list of the essential tasks necessary to care for you and your loved one. Since caregiving can be a strenuous and difficult job, give yourself a break by scaling back on impossible expectations for a spotless house, homemade cookies and ironed sheets.
- Recruit – You are not alone. Enlist others to help you. This can include family members as well as community services, such as Meals on Wheels or in-home care services for respite care. Use the list of essential caregiving tasks you developed above and think about what you can delegate. When a friend or neighbor asks, “How can I help?” – be ready to give a specific task. Keep in mind that person’s interests when making assignments. For instance, someone who likes to cook might be willing to prepare a meal but might not want to help with yard work. Sharing the load with others also offers you an opportunity for outside socialization.
- Relax – Family caregivers frequently overlook the benefits of self-care activities. Take advantage of quiet moments to put your feet up and relax. Close your eyes while your loved one naps. Sit quietly and take deep breaths to re-energize. Enjoy a beverage together with your loved one. Chat about the past to revive fond memories and deep connections. Savor happy moments with your loved one, family and friends.
Following these simple three R’s can help you care for yourself while you care for others. If you need additional help, ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care is available 24/7 to assist with errands, personal care, transportation, meal preparation and respite care. Contact us today at 800-886-4044 for a no-obligation in-home consultation.