Being an informal caregiver for an aging loved one is one of the most important and personally rewarding roles you can play during your lifetime. But caregiving can also be an emotional rollercoaster filled with highs and lows depending upon the day.
Learning how to deal with those inevitable ups and downs is the key to providing your loved one with the nurturing they deserve. Here are some ways to keep yourself focused and grounded as the caregiving journey plays out.
Caregivers Face these Daily Challenges
The roughly 40 million unpaid caregivers in the US who serve behind the scenes are essential to the country’s healthcare system. Because most also juggle at least a part-time job and household along with their caregiving duties, caregiver stress is common.
These are some of the daily challenges that caregivers face:
- Time management
- Emotional and mental stress
- Physical fatigue
- Financial difficulties
- Sleep deprivation
- Anxiety and depression
- Feeling isolated from others
- Being hesitant to ask for help
Navigating Caregiving Highs and Lows
According to a 2014 survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, over 80% of informal caregivers perceive it to be a positive experience. As a caregiver these are some of the highs that can help you get through it:
Sense of accomplishment
Most people aren’t prepared to care for another person and on-the-job training isn’t readily available. Somehow you will figure it out. Although caring for someone else presents unique challenges and obstacles, working through those difficult times can be a real self-confidence booster. Being a caregiver is a big accomplishment, so be proud of your determination, resourcefulness and commitment!
It’s highly rewarding
Even when you’re dealing with a difficult parent or grandparent, caregiving is one of the most rewarding and gratifying experiences you can have. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of providing care. If you embrace such a short-sighted perspective, it can keep you from focusing on the positives. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a step back and consider the big picture.
Providing much-needed support
Many seniors in end-of-life situations fear having to go it alone. Because of your efforts, your loved one won’t have to deal with those feelings. Whether they are living with dementia or are of sound mind, at some level your care recipient will understand how much you love and care about them. Being there when they need it most is a priceless gift.
Changes your perspective
Caregiving also changes how you view life. This new perspective will help you realize what’s most important over the long haul, like family, friends and personal goals. Even under the most challenging of circumstances, taking care of another will have a powerful influence on shaping your outlook and relationships moving forward.
Creates cherished memories
Much like life, caregiving is full of ups and downs. The highs may sometimes be few and far between, but when those cherished moments happen it will fill your heart with joy. Making a loved one with cancer smile, sharing a family story with someone who has dementia, or hearing a heartfelt “thank you” from a usually stoic parent are all treasured moments that you will remember forever.
You’re making a difference
As a caregiver, never underestimate the impact that you are having on others. You may not win an award or receive verbal accolades because of your sacrifices, but always remember that you are making a positive difference in someone else’s life. In the end, that’s what life is all about!
Award-winning Respite Care for Seniors in Arizona
Negotiating the highs and lows of caregiving can be overwhelming at times. When you need a break contact Adultcare Assistance Homecare (AAH). As a locally owned homecare agency one of our highly trained respite caregivers can step in and provide the care that’s needed so your loved one can keep aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. In addition to respite care, our caregiving team can deliver services like light housekeeping, personal care, companion care, medication reminders, transportation and even 24-hour live-in care.
From monitoring vitals to helping with activities of daily living, our compassionate caregivers create personalized care plans for each individual person they care for. To learn more about our award-winning services now, or to get a FREE home care assessment for a senior in Phoenix, Sun City or Tucson, AZ, today, please visit AAH at: www.adultcareassistance.com!