Last Updated: May 6, 2019
Happy, well-rested caregivers are crucial to the job – but the job is exhausting. So family caregivers must balance caring for a parent or senior loved one and caring for themselves. Otherwise, they can experience caregiver fatigue and develop serious health problems.
Caregivers instinctively put their loved one’s comfort and happiness above their own, which can create serious repercussions. If caregivers sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of their job, they won’t be any good to the seniors they serve. Learn more about how to avoid caregiver fatigue during this time.
A Place for Mom has collected a series of tips on how to help caregivers with their fatigue.
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Among these, “take care of yourself” is repeated in different forms throughout the list. To a caregiver, that could be a day off, time to read or a walk, but taking care of yourself is essential and should become routine.
Here are 10 healthy habits to practice to ensure you do not suffer from caregiver fatigue while caring for a senior loved one:
Caring for a senior brings challenges and stress but also the opportunity to make someone else’s life easier and more enjoyable. It could be the last chance to spend time with a loved one who’s near the end. It is important to remember that time is the ultimate gift.
A nutritious diet keeps energy levels up and health risks at bay. Seniors need to eat healthy too. So caregivers might think of preparing low-fat meals and snacks that incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables and enjoying them with the senior, as a part of the job. To save time, they can ask family members or friends for help with meals as needed. A healthy diet goes a long way to energize the human body, improve moods and help caregivers avoid fatigue.
Staying active physically helps improve mood and reduce stress. It’s the ideal way to ward off health issues that can put a caregiver’s job at risk. There is nothing like natural endorphins from exercise to help combat caregiver fatigue and renew the spirit.
Take time each week to vent to family members or friends. Some caregivers might even consider seeing a counselor they can rely on to help sort out frustrations. There are also caregiver support groups to provide a community of people going through similar situations. These support groups are especially helpful to combat caregiver fatigue as tips for success and understanding can be shared.
A journal is also a good place to record what went well for the day. Those words can serve as inspiration the next morning and help you put things in perspective. Keeping a journal can help you make goals, manifest possibilities and organize thoughts.
Reportedly, 70% of caregivers become sick with a health issue while caring for a loved one. Also, 50% of caregivers die before the person to whom they’re providing care. It is easy to forget yourself when your focus is on others, but make sure to have your annual doctor exam and checkup and stay in tune with your own health.
Consider activities that help you relax. Meditation, music and yoga are just some of the ways to help a caregiver slow down and put things into perspective. You might also think about incorporating meditation into your caregiving routine as seniors also can benefit.
Caregivers must replenish themselves mentally and physically. Caregiving is tough, so it is important to recharge through exercise, meditation and social activities.
A class, a new hobby or a vacation, whatever the dream, caregivers should set and write down personal goals that remind them of what they want to achieve outside of their job. Having something to look forward to can provide hope and help caregivers avoid caregiver burnout.
Adult day care, family members or friends can all fill in for caregivers on a regular basis. That way they can focus on themselves and their goals. This time is for caregivers to do what they like to do, not to run errands for their job.
Happy caregivers practice good habits in daily life. They see the benefits when it comes to caring for others, as do the seniors they care for each day. With a little planning and self-care, you can beat caregiver fatigue.
Which other practices should caregivers consider to avoid caregiver fatigue? do you recommend to help caregivers stay happy? Please share them in the comments below.