In recent years, rising healthcare and nursing home costs, are causing more people to choose personal in-home care for adult friends or relatives. In fact, the National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that “65.7 million Americans (or 29 percent of the U.S. adult population involving 31 percent of all U.S. households) served as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative in the past year.” If your clients find themselves in the position of caregiver, the recommendations below may help them reduce their stress and provide the best care possible.
- Caregivers: Educate Yourself on Your Loved One’s Condition – The specific needs of an elderly person can differ substantially, so caregivers want to learn as much as they can about their friend or relative’s condition. For instance, what types of mental or physical disabilities do they have? What types of medications do they take? Is it okay for them to live alone, or do they need constant care? The more caregivers know about the condition of their loved one, the less confusion and anxiety there should be on their end, and they should be better equipped to provide the necessary care.
- Seek Assistance – Caregivers who try to do everything themselves have purchased a one-way ticket to stress and burnout. Getting necessary help from others should be part of the caregiving plan. Whether it’s friends or family, many people are generally happy to help out and provide primary caregivers with assistance. It’s a good idea for caregivers to explore their options upfront so they aren’t scrambling for help in an emergency situation.
- Create a Caregiving Budget – When you break it all down, the costs of personal caregiving can add up in a hurry. It is extremely important to have an understanding of what those costs will be. From there, caregivers should consider all financial resources available and create a budget to cover all the costs.
- Communicate with Employers – Because they are likely to spend a significant portion of their time providing care, complications could arise with work schedules. To avoid this as much as possible, caregivers will need to be upfront with their employers about their situation and see what compromise they can reach to accommodate their needs and the needs of their employer. They may consider working part time hours, implementing a flextime program, or telecommuting for certain duties.
- Create a Schedule – Finally, caregivers should establish a general schedule to manage caregiving duties along with employment and personal life. Having a rough outline for each day should reduce stress significantly and help caregivers get things accomplished more efficiently and with less friction. It is also important that caregivers take time to relax, socialize and exercise so they can maintain a healthy life balance.
These few suggestions can help caregivers avoid being overwhelmed as they make the transition into becoming a caregiver. Avoiding stress and burnout will ensure loved ones receive the assistance they need without it taking a toll on the caregivers in the process.
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