Caring for the Caregiver

It is a newer term but one you may have heard thrown around – self-care.  That seems obvious, you might be thinking.  Of course, we are supposed to take care of ourselves.  Why would I need someone to remind me of that?  Well, are you a caregiver?  If so, then might be harder for you to get around to consistent self-care.  It simply comes with the territory.


Caregiving comes in a variety of forms.  You may be the caregiver to a special needs or physically disabled child.  You may be the caregiver to a spouse who has been in an accident or is going through a health challenge like cancer.  You may be the caregiver for your elderly parent.  You may be the caregiver for your veteran spouse who came home with physical and/or emotional wounds from deployment.  Yes, indeed, these are a wide variety of caregiving forms, but they all have one thing in common which is YOU, the caregiver.


Take A Little “Me Time”

As a caregiver, your day may be spent not only caring for that individual that needs your extra help but others in your life too, such as a spouse and/or children.  In such a case, how are you NOT going to suffer from exhaustion either physically, emotionally, or both?  Your entire day is devoted to meeting others’ needs from the time you wake up until the time they are all asleep.  You may be thinking that you get your “me time” when everyone goes to bed.  11:00 at night is not the prime time for self-care!  If you stay awake until 1:00 in the morning just to have some time to yourself you’re not getting enough sleep.  You might only get a few hours sleep in order to wake up and do it all again.


Have Others Pitch In

How can you take better care of yourself?  You might feel like you simply don’t have time.  Sometimes you have to ask for help from the other people in your life who are capable.  If your children are older, then make sure they have a proper level of responsibility like making their own breakfast, packing their own lunch, and doing their own laundry.  Make sure you have a chore list for all family members and that they DO those chores.  If you are struggling with their compliance, then you may have to impose consequences for un-done chores.  We are willing to bet the compliance level will improve drastically!


Start Small

You are one person, so caring for multiple people every day is a monumental task.  If you are not used to taking care of yourself, you may need to start small.  With the help of other family members, take thirty minutes all to yourself in which interruptions are forbidden.  You may want to eat your lunch in peace while reading a good book.  You may want to shower or take a bath without interruption (oh, happy day!).  When you and your family members realize that the world didn’t fall apart when you took a thirty-minute hiatus, you can begin to implement these more frequently and for longer periods of time.  As a side note, while grocery shopping may be “alone time,” it does NOT constitute self-care!


In an upcoming blog, we are going to discuss getting professional respite care, but we first wanted to get you used to the idea of what self-care is and how necessary it is for your physical and emotional well-being.  If you are depleted, you can’t effectively take care of the people depending on you anyways.  Self-care benefits them too, so do it without guilt PLEASE!


At Champion Home Health Care of South Florida, we are well aware of the sacrifices that caregivers make day after day.  We are a home health agency that can provide you with respite care so that you can get the self-care you need to better care for your senior loved ones and yourself.  If you are in West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale, please call us today to find out how we can help you!

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