Caregivers often feel guilty when they start to feel the strain of caring for their sick loved one. It’s perfectly natural to feel the frustrations and stressors that come with taking care of the needs of someone else. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your family member if you start to feel less at ease. It’s important to understand that you’re not alone. This is an extremely common issue with those caring for sick family members. There are certain ways to help ease the stress and prevent caregiver burnout:
Seeing A Therapist
Therapists know how to prevent caregiver burnout. They have helped many clients understand their loved one’s disease. A therapist can help a caregiver find time to take care of their own needs, and learn the coping skills they need to handle any stressors that may come. Talking to a therapist can be extremely useful, regardless of what your loved one’s illness or situation is. Seeing a professional that is a mental health expert, may be especially useful if you are taking care of a mentally ill family member. Mental health specialists know the ins and outs of the disease, and can explain it to you and how best to handle it.
There are support groups for those who are practicing as a caregiver to family members. These support groups are an excellent place for caregivers to express their feelings, and communicate the challenges that come along with caring for their loved ones. Within support groups, you will most likely find new coping skills and friends. Talking to people who feel the same, or are faced with situations similar to yours, can be very beneficial.
Understand That You May Not Be Able To Do This Forever
You may not be able to take care of your loved one’s needs forever. You may be faced with the inevitable possibility of having to put them into assistant living. A nursing home, or hospice care may also be likely if they have a terminal disease. These types of facilities also need to be considered, if your loved one is getting more fragile due to age. Those taking care of the mentally ill that are too low functioning to live on their own, may want to consider looking into a group home. Mentally ill people who are too low functioning to work but are able to live on their own, can be placed into a disability apartment.
You Can Take A Break
Putting your loved one in assisted living or a nursing home, does not have to be forever. You can place them there for a temporary amount of time, until you are able to resume in home care. You can also hire an in-home care assistant for a while, to give yourself a break.
Have Your Loved One Apply For Assistance
Those who are taking care of a mentally or physically ill disabled family member, should encourage their loved one to apply for social security. They will get more money if they once worked. This money will help to purchase food, and will help pay medical expenses if they are uninsured.
Understand That You Do Not Have To Be Perfect
Individuals who know how to prevent caregiver burnout, have learned that they don’t have to be the perfect caregiver. It’s okay to make mistakes, and you will. Take care of them the best you can. If you feel that you cannot fully or properly care on your own, consider getting care assistance.
Ask Other Family Members To Help
It’s too much on one person, to have to take care of the whole responsibility that comes with aiding a sick family member. Other close relatives should also be involved in the care taking. Parents, siblings, Aunts or Uncles can also help care for the loved one.
Never Call Your Sick Family Member A Burden
When it comes to preventing caregiver burnout, lashing out at a sick family member or calling them a burden will not help. It’s normal to feel heavy, almost explosive frustration when there’s a lot of responsibility on you. It will only make you feel guilty later and does not help to lash out this way. If you feel that you can no longer handle the stress or prevent this reaction, it is probably wiser to place your family member into assisted living.
It’s Not Easy
This isn’t going to be an easy road, but there will be an end. Right now, you need to take care of yourself. That is the only way to ensure you are able to fully and effectively take care of them. It’s time to accept your limitations, and learn how to be the best caregiver you can be. Learning the coping skills you’ll need to continue caring for them will only prove more helpful. Understand that you may not always be able to, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to accept that you may not be able to take care of them forever.
MedGift Advocacy Services, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization, classified as a public charity and is registered in the State of Georgia under EIN 81-4017965.