Caring for yourself is hard enough, but add in the perceived responsibility to care for others and it can become a stressful full-time job. Caregivers get little credit for the long time they stick around and often they put themselves last when it comes to self-care. However, for long-term survival, it’s important for caregivers to learn how to weave in ways to relieve stress, even as they continue to care for others.
Building a support system to take some of the weight off their shoulders is the best way to create the necessary framework for routine stress relief. Another way is to set aside time for activities they enjoy, such as gardening or playing sports. Finally, caregivers’ lives can be greatly facilitated with the right tools to do their job efficiently, thereby reducing frustration and making it more enjoyable for both the individual with disabilities and the caregiver.
Create an Active Support System
Carers working with individuals with terminal illnesses or disabilities will work 24×7 unless they can get help from others. Luckily, there are ways to build a community of caring helpers that can at least give you some much-needed break. Hospitals and nonprofits often sponsor support groups for caregivers. They may focus on a certain type of caregiver, such as someone with a mentally challenged individual or cancer patient at home.
However, you can also set up your own support group as long as you can manage your calendar and have people willing to help you around the clock. Schedule time for people to come and spend time with someone in any way they can help, then use that time to fit needed “me” time into your own schedule.
Have Ready Outlets
Once you’ve gotten some time to yourself, make sure you have everything you need to engage in your favorite hobby or pastime. If you enjoy gardening, make sure you have tools, seeds, and bedding ready for whatever activity you plan to do. If you prefer doing crossword puzzles, make sure you have a magazine rack stocked with potential teasers. Don’t use your extra time getting ready. If you can plan ahead for these times by ordering supplies online, you can have them delivered to your door before you really need them. Use free time to fully engage in hobbies. It will help melt away the worries more quickly that way. Likewise, when you reactivate maintenance mode, you should be prepared with the tools you need to make life easier.
Tools to Facilitate Parenting
Caring for another person who has limited mobility can put a strain on your back. However, without mobility aids, people can stay at home. It is very important to get a wheelchair, disabled vans, and scooters to improve the quality of life of people who need care. A small tool for reaching cans in the kitchen or handlebars for weight support in the bathroom also helps. This helps individuals with limited mobility. It can also help caregivers by giving them the ability to move individuals much more easily than trying to pick them up. This can save bones and headaches when trying to figure out how to get a patient to the doctor or how to move him down the hall to a disabled accessible toilet.
Even if you think these items may be out of reach, they are not. You can get help from Medicare programs or nonprofits that have funds to help individuals with special needs get the tools they need for a higher quality of life. Individuals who are trained to use these tools will also experience greater independence, which can reduce the frustration of needing help with even small tasks. It also helps caregivers reduce the demands on their own time by allowing patients to care for themselves.