How to be an Effective Caregiver?

Growing old is an inevitable aspect of life. However, many seniors face the struggles of living alone since most of their children have moved out and started their own families. Therefore, most old people face psychological problems because of having been left behind by loved ones. Most also have problems dealing with running errands and other daily physical activities due to their old age.

That is not always the case as many seniors hire the professional service of caregivers to help them out with their day-to-day needs. Caregivers can work part-time or full-time depending on the senior’s needs. Around 40 – 60 million people in the US are considered to be caregivers. Any of the family members, neighbors and paid home care workers can be considered as caregivers. An effective caregiver sees to it that seniors receive proper care such as giving them medicines on time, monitoring their blood pressure and doing other physical work on their behalf.

Providing care and support to seniors can be a rewarding experience as the caregiver and the elder often form a special kind of bond, which is cited by many caregivers as one of the reasons why they stay on the job. This article will discuss some of the ways on how to be an effective caregiver.

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•    Look after yourself
To be an effective caregiver, you need to take good care of yourself first. Being in an unhealthy state will only render you ineffective in carrying out your duties. You need to follow a balanced diet, get enough sleep and do regular exercises. You can lessen the fatigue from work by leading a healthy lifestyle.

•    Get regular breaks
Caregivers usually experience fatigue and burnout when caring for seniors especially those suffering from chronic and debilitating medical conditions. Therefore, you may need to step back from work and relieve some stress. You can take a quick vacation to recover from all the stress and fatigue. You can go to the spa and give yourself the much-needed pampering, or you can go out with your friends on a Friday night. You can also take a hiking trip or just stay at home and watch movies. You can also take up a new hobby or whatever makes you relieve stress.

•    Ask for help if necessary
If you find yourself doing something important, you can ask a friend or any of the family member to take over for you temporarily. You can also get in touch with community resources that deal with providing care for seniors to send someone out to act temporarily as the senior’s caregiver. Some local facilities also provide home health care services. The National Family Caregiver Support Program and other elderly support agencies are also responsible for providing care to the elderly. They can help you out in terms of proper caregiver education and training.

•    Communicate with the elder’s family
There are instances wherein the family members leave all the decision-making to the caregiver’s hands since most of them are leading a hectic life. However, the best approach when providing care to seniors is to communicate with one or more members of the family regarding their expectations and decisions of care. Setting up a regular meeting and getting input from everyone is always the best approach. Getting the family members’ participation can help ease the burden and make things a lot easier.

Final Thoughts
Caregiving is both a rewarding and stressful job. Therefore, you need to know how to become an effective caregiver. The elderly population is expected to triple or quadruple in number in the next three decades. Caregivers need to take pride in what they are doing. Love and compassion are the primary things that are important in this profession.