For one reason or another, there are times in our lives when we must care for others and it is usually a loved one we have a deep relationship with. In carrying out familial duties, do we care for ourselves in the time we spend caring for them? We live in a different age today than just twenty years ago and demands upon non-professionals are changing. It is estimated that for every three adults you meet on the street, one of them is caring for another person as a non-professional caregiver. Are there not enough professional caregivers to go around?
Taking Care of Stress
The drawback of being a caregiver, but not being professionally trained, is that often the person fails to take care of themselves while caring for the other. After all, if you’ve ever visited a hospital you have observed how the professional nurse is surrounded by other professionals who act as support and encouragement. It definitely takes a strong-willed and supportive person to take on the duties of a non-professional caregiver, especially if the person is surrounded by medical or mechanical devices they have not been trained in, like a kangaroo feeding pump. The caregiver’s stress can get high thinking they may have made a mistake in turning the wrong switch on a device or unable to understand the readings on a piece of medical technology.
The Rise of Non-Professional Caregivers
The statistic shows that the professionals who are being trained move on to positions in hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities other than home health care. I’m sure you met a friend or neighbor who is caring for a sick spouse or relative, who was unable to get a health nurse, which left them to make ends meet with what they could do on their own. If you are like many other caregivers, they are in good spirits, but at times they look like they could use some rest. It is true, a healthy caregiver is anyone who spends time in the presence of another while providing assistance, carrying out needed duties because the person is incapacitated or cannot physically take care of these necessities on their own.
Support from Friends and Family
At these times, it is necessary to have someone to share with and ask questions. But as said earlier, often it does fall on the healthier spouse to take care of the one that has fallen sick or is incapacitated. In short, every caregiver needs someone or something around them to act as a support for them while they are taking care of the special person in their life. Caregivers are great at providing all kinds of comfort for those who they are caring for, but often they forget to spend enough time to eat a whole meal without getting up to adjust the pillow for their patient. In other words, a caregiver needs a support team around them. It may not be the person who faints at the first drop of blood or does the same when they see a needed or syringe, but those same persons who fail to have the physical stamina to be the caregiver can be of great support to those who are.
Relieving the Stress
Giving care to others is a stressful time for the sick person and the caregiver, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise that professional psychologist, social workers, and medical professionals recommend that the caregiver has means and ways to work off the stress. But what are those things that a caregiver can do to relieve stress in their life?
First, keep in touch with friends, family, and people who are always willing to take a break with you. Friendships are great stress relievers because they put your best interest forwards above themselves.
Patient Care as an Extension of Self-Caring
The caregiver needs to have that relationship with the patient, but at the same time, there are ways to step away for a few minutes and hand over their responsibility to another whom they trust. Furthermore, the caregiver can also keep in touch with what is going on by texting or calling the assistant caregiver until they return after some time away.
Accepting Strengths and Limitations
Each caregiver who experiences stress buildup needs to look at their own ability to cope since each person is different. One way to get a grasp on whether stress level is becoming more injurious to health rather than beneficial is to share it with another person in order to get to the level of self-care they need. Just sharing with a trusted person how they are coping with giving care can begin to bring their stress level down and initiate the feeling that they can also care for themselves while extending that care to those they love.