The position of long-term caregiver may be both one of the most rewarding and most challenging. Emotional hills and valleys are only some of the invisible signs of daily care for another human being. Caregivers often tend to provide such loving support for others that they forget to take care of themselves. This can cause a downward spiral in health and mental well-being. However, caregivers are often the last people to ask others for help. How can you provide caregivers with the support that they need to be more comfortable in their role?
Don’t Accept “Fine”
If a caregiver provides you with a response of “fine” when asked about their day, it’s a problem. While it may feel as though you’re prying, caregivers often appreciate the open conversation. They may be feeling overwhelmed, sad or simply exhausted. Taking time to listen is one of the best gifts that you can provide another person in this challenging situation.
Reduce Their Burdens
When you’re caring for another person, you tend to allow your own needs to go unfulfilled. This could manifest in a wide range of ways — few of them positive for your health. Taking a few moments for yourself allows you to rest and recharge. When you’re rested, you’re more likely to provide patient and loving care. Examples of a break include going to the grocery store to a day at the hair and nail salon or massage parlor. At Santé, we have found that these small luxuries can make a big difference. Families become increasingly exhausted while giving care to others. This time apart allows them to have the mental energy to continue to love and support one another.
Take the time to check in with your family caregiver on a regular basis. They may not even realize how long it’s been between contact with friends of family members. Sometimes, simply knowing that someone is thinking positive thoughts in your direction can go a long way towards providing comfort. Listen without giving advice — no matter how badly you wish to do so.
If you are the caregiver in your family, it’s important to celebrate the small victories. See how the caregiving professionals at Santé can help family and friends stay involved. We work with your family throughout the period of care. You can contact us by calling 480-563-2402 today or by filling out our online contact form. Find more information about long-term illness and disease on the resources page on our website.