According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, approximately 66 million Americans (35% of the US adult population) serve as family caregivers for adult or disabled relatives. With the population aging and living longer, more caregiving is being provided by spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings and other family members.
Taking care of loved ones as they age is important and rewarding work, yet it’s no secret that family caregiving can be extremely stressful and demanding. As caregiving responsibilities grow, family caregivers experience significant challenges in their own lives. Finding the balance between your needs and the needs of your loved one is the key to keeping your personal health and well-being a top priority.
A few tips to help family caregivers find balance include:
- Take care of your own health – It’s essential to take care of yourself so you can continue to be there for your loved one. Make sure to see your own medical doctor when needed, eat healthy, get good sleep, and stay active.
- Practice self-care – Find time to do activities that you love. Take small breaks throughout the day to unwind, even if it’s 30 minutes.
- Give yourself credit – Practice self-compassion and acknowledge everything you are doing for your loved one. You weren’t trained to be a caregiver, so cut yourself some slack if you’re feeling overwhelmed or trying to be too perfect.
- Set boundaries – Healthy boundaries are important for you and your loved one. If able, have a discussion around what your role will be now and as their needs progress. Encourage your loved one to stay as independent and as involved in their care as they are able.
- Take respite breaks – There are many community programs and services that offer short term (hourly or daily) care to caregivers. Take advantage of these programs.
- Ask for help – Caregiver burnout is real and nothing to be ashamed of. Seek support from other family members, friends or support groups with caregivers who are in the same situation as you are. Our professional caregivers at Hallmark Homecare are available to provide personalized care as well.
Need some additional support caring for your loved one?
Hallmark Homecare offers personalized in-home care to help people remain at home. Our caregivers are specifically matched to each client and their unique needs. This offers clients and families peace of mind and provides family caregivers with a much-deserved break, so they can focus on spending quality time together with their loved one instead of on caregiving or household tasks. There’s help available when you need it, and we’re happy to assist!