Caregivers face many challenges when caring for the elderly and there’s no time debatably worse than right now during a pandemic when you may feel overwhelmed with your responsibilities as a caregiver in addition to your own personal well-being as well as other family members, too.
Caregivers must find ways to remain healthy and provide the necessary care. They must reassess their own health along with the person they’re caring for. An unhealthy caregiver can prevent them from providing adequate care.
To ensure that you are the best you as a caregiver, we’ve listed tips and information on taking care of yourself while also taking care of an older adult.
Maintain A Normal Daily Schedule
In senior Assisted Living, it’s important for caregivers to have a normal daily schedule. They should complete the same tasks with their residents to remain consistent. The caregiver needs structure to get through each day.
Residents of the community who need help each day need a regular schedule, too. It’s a critical component to Memory Care and keeps those residents at ease. Too much deviation from the schedule is taxing for the resident and the caregiver.
Maintain a Normal Sleep Schedule
Studies show that caregivers that maintain a normal sleep schedule stay healthier. They can manage their loved one’s care better. The family member also gets adequate rest. Doctors recommend that they sleep in a separate room than their loved one.
Eat Well and Exercise
A healthy diet and exercise keep the caregiver on track with their own healthcare. They need a diet that doesn’t hinder existing medical conditions. It should give them the energy they need to care for the elderly. Their food selections must reduce health risks and give them better balance.
Too often when caring for seniors, caregivers give in to exhaustion. They become inactive unless they are caring for someone. The results are unhealthy and cause fatigue faster.
By exercising at least three times a week, they stay healthier. The caregivers also increase serotonin levels and avoid aches and pains. Exercise is great for the body and the mind.
Follow A Routine for Stress Relief
Some days will be harder than others. Caregivers must develop healthy coping mechanisms for when they are stressed. For example, taking a (short or long) walk outside.
They can eat snacks that make them feel better. A review of healthier snacks shows them the positive effects they offer. They can learn breathing techniques that lower blood pressure. The caregiver could also take time to meditate and release their tension. There are a variety of self-care options for managing stress.
Stay Focused on What You Can Control
There are many studies, affirmations, and even prayers that focus on what is possible. They focus on letting go of what a person cannot change or control. For many caregivers, this is a vital lesson.
An elderly loved one who cannot live on their own faces many challenges. So do their caregivers. They have challenging medical conditions that become overwhelming. Some conditions are progressive and continue to diminish the person they’re caring for and their abilities.
Set Up a Backup for Adult Care
During unforeseen circumstances, caregivers will become ill. The pandemic is testimony to this fact. The caregiver must find someone they trust to manage care for their patient if they become ill.
If the caregiver contracts a contagious illness such as COVID-19, they need help.. A backup plan ensures that their loved one has the care they need if the circumstances call for it.
Take Breaks (and a vacation) as Needed
Caregivers should take breaks as needed. Even if they walk around outside for 10 minutes it could improve their well-being.
Like any other worker, caregivers need some time “out of the office.” If you’re a family member or close friend, consider Respite Care at an Assisted Living community. At Chelsea, we offer flexible Respite Care options. Not only does this give you the comfort knowing your loved one is being taken care of, but it also exposes them to a very social, independent, and active environment where they can make new friends and possibly find new interests.
Keep Conversations Light
When speaking to the individual, the caregiver should keep the conversation light. They shouldn’t engage in conversations about the person’s condition. Individuals may discuss their medical condition, but the caregiver must remain neutral. They shouldn’t provide advice beyond their scope of care.
Follow Health and Safety Protocols
Caregivers must follow all health and safety protocols. They must wear a mask and wash their hands as needed. These measures decrease health risks for the individual and the caregiver.
Where to Find a Home
Our Chelsea communities have some of the top care teams in the Northeast. They are trained, certified, and experienced in medications management, cutting-edge healthcare technology, physical and diagnostic testing, support services, and more. Our community provides 24-hour service all week and this allows us to ensure our caregivers’ health are being protected at all times. This is critical because we pride ourselves on having a very attentive and focused staff which is reflective In the level of care our residents receive.
If you have any questions about our care teams or our communities, contact us and explore our locations.