There are many reasons why you may need to begin acting as a carer for a friend or loved one. For example, they may be involved in an accident, or develop a long-term health condition that impacts their ability to live life as normal. While the healthcare word is evolving, more and more adults require full-time support in the US & beyond in order to maintain quality of life.
However, while you may be more than willing to offer your support, it’s important that you do not underestimate the strain this can have on your own health and happiness. After all, caring for another person can lead to a great deal of stress and could lead to burnout or neglecting your own needs in the process.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to make your day to day life easier as a carer.
- Seek out compensation. According to a recent survey from the Family Caregiver Alliance, ‘43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult in the last 12 months’. While this is likely due to the fact that many people feel uncomfortable taking money from loved ones, it’s important that you are compensated – especially if you have to give up work in order to care for your loved one. Thankfully, there are various programs in place to support you during this time, such as the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). This program allows individuals to select a friend or family member to act as their primary caregiver and gives them access to compensation and funding as a result.
- Take care of yourself too. In order to be able to provide adequate care and support as a carer, it’s important that you are able to take care of yourself too. One way in which you can achieve this goal is by ensuring that you follow a healthy and happy lifestyle. For example, you should ensure that you get enough sleep each night, so that you have the energy and enthusiasm you need to get through the day. The more you sideline your own needs, the easier it will be to experience burnout, stress and anxiety.
- Ensure your emotional needs are met. Caring for another person can lead to a lot of emotional turmoil, especially if you are the primary caregiver. As a result, it’s important that you are able to find a healthy way to process your emotions during this time, such as through therapy or online carer support groups where you can talk to others who may be experiencing similar lifestyle changes.
- Try to maintain a positive mindset. Another way in which you can make your day to day life easier as a carer is by building a positive mindset. Not only will this enable you to navigate your way through difficult days, you’ll also be able to use this positivity to help your friend or loved one through what is undoubtedly a difficult time for them. However, it’s also important that you remain empathetic to their troubles – while you can see the impact their condition has on their life, it’s hard to understand exactly how it feels unless you are experiencing it yourself physically. Be mindful of this as you help them to maintain a positive attitude.