Selfless, Not Selfish: Why Self-Care Is Essential for Family Caregivers

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A common issue many family caregivers face is feeling like they cannot take a break. Many report feeling guilty or ashamed when they take any time to focus on themselves instead of working on caring for their senior loved ones. It can be challenging to overcome these feelings, but you need to remind yourself that self-care isn’t a selfish action. Remembering to care for your own wellbeing can make you a better caregiver.

Boosts Physical Health

Caregivers who ignore their own needs are more likely to end up developing health issues. Those who don’t eat healthy foods or get enough sleep can become physically exhausted, and once they get sick, they take longer to recover. A 2014 study from The Canadian Geriatrics Journal found that a third of all seniors who enter assisted living do so because their initial caregivers are too sick to properly provide care anymore. If you want to stay healthy enough to help your loved one continue to live at home, you need to remember to care for yourself.

Family caregivers don’t have to risk their own wellbeing to make sure their loved ones continue to receive high-quality care. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Montgomery, AL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Prevents Caregiver Burnout

Another very real danger of ignoring your own needs for too long is caregiver burnout, which happens when your brain cannot take the mental and emotional strain of caregiving anymore. Caregivers who are overwhelmed may unintentionally end up being grumpy and mean to their loved ones, or they might become so apathetic they forget to manage important caregiving tasks such as medication or bathing. Even small breaks when you can take off the mental load of always being responsible for another person can prevent burnout from setting in.

Family caregivers are often at high risk for burnout, and hiring a home caregiver can provide a much-needed source of support. When you search for a professional caregiver, you’re looking for someone with experience in senior care who’s compassionate and trustworthy. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care services. Montgomery families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

Enhances Caregiving Skills

When you remember to care for yourself, you may be surprised to notice how much better you can be at caregiving. Well-rested caregivers are able to remember all the appointments, therapy visits, and social events their loved ones need to stay healthy, and they have the emotional stability needed to spend long hours caregiving. When you properly care for your body, you can maintain the strength to help your loved one get out of bed or lower him or herself down into a chair.

Promotes Overall Wellbeing

After spending so long focusing on your loved one, it can be difficult to remember how to care for yourself. Try to take things slowly and listen to what your body needs. Remind yourself you’re not being selfish. Instead, you’re taking steps to make sure you can remain the best possible caregiver. Doing little things like eating a home-cooked meal, spending a half hour at the gym, hiring a respite caregiver so you can see friends, and getting a good night’s sleep can make a huge difference in your overall wellbeing.

It’s crucial for family caregivers to take good care of themselves, and if you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, remember you don’t have to manage everything all on your own. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Montgomery elder care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (334) 593-3988.

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