Being a caregiver can be physically and mentally exhausting. To be successful at it, one of your top priorities needs to be taking care of you. If you get sick or injured, you cannot do the caregiving that is needed. Here are some tools and strategies for taking care of you.
Your loved one is likely getting frequent assessments of how they are doing, but have you had an assessment of how you are doing? We suggest starting with this one from the American Medical Association. It can be found at CaregiversLibrary.org. It is listed under “Caring For Yourself,” on the left-hand side of the page. It is called the “Caregiver Self-Assessment Questionnaire.” This simple questionnaire can help you determine how your health is as a caregiver and offers tips as to what you can do. Below are some additional strategies to help you take care of yourself.
Options to give the Caregiver a Break
There are several ways you might get short-term help, that gives you a break from caregiving:
- A family member friend could give you a couple hour break once a week.
- An adult day program might give you a few hours a week
- Take time away while an in home care provider is providing a service
- See if you qualify for an Alzheimer’s Care Grant at http://hilarityforcharity.org/programs/grant-program/
- For caregivers who’s loved one has a FTD diagnosis, see grants available on their website
- Consider having your loved one participate in a respite stay at a local senior community. This gives you a break from caregiving and gives them a chance to meet new people, participate in some programs and get the care they need. Contact Choice Connections to find availability in your area.
- Consider applying for a Road Scholar’s Caregiver Grant so you can get away for a few days. Applications are at: https://www.roadscholar.org/about/financial-assistance/caregiver-grants/
- Locally Lyngblomsten has a respite program called “The Gathering” for those with memory loss. This is a 10-3 program a couple times a month, see information here.
Support groups can help you in two key ways. First, no one understands better about what you are going through than others who are also going through it. Just talking about your stresses and frustrations with someone that clearly understands can be a huge mental relief for you. Second, the others that attend are a vast source of knowledge about things that have and have not worked for them in their caregiving. Finally, it can be rewarding for you when you can share with someone something that has worked for you as a caregiver. We encourage you to commit to going to several meetings as the nature of the group changes depending on who is there on any given day.
The better you take care of yourself, the better and longer you will be able to take care of your loved one. To discuss any of these options please feel free to call us at Choice Connections.