How to Identify Issues in the Moment
Problem-solving is key to caretaking. While you may problem solve in all areas of your life, caretaking presents very specific types of problems to solve. Some tips for how to delve into these issues are to:
* Identify any issues that currently exist in your situation. Research local resources where you can get help.
* Have a plan premade in case the person you are supporting gets worse or changes in any way. First, figure out any problems or services they might need. Then, come up with action plans for different or worse scenarios.
* Compile a list of important contact information. For example, put any relevant doctor’s phone numbers, emergency services, and numbers of other caregivers in a central place in your loved one’s house. Write them down for yourself as well.
* Take a moment and methodically proceed for both bigger and smaller challenges. Identify your issue, think of solutions, weigh the solutions, try what you have thought of, and then evaluate if it works.
The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself
Caring for someone with an illness on a regular basis is extremely taxing mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you don’t stop and decompress, you will burn out. In addition, you can become sick or fatigued from the stress of it all.
Usually, these types of symptoms happen when you don’t have the support you need. That support could either be financial or physical and can lead to serious mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, and fatigue. However, caregivers often find themselves feeling guilty about taking time and space for themself when someone they love is ill.
Here are some things to remember:
* You are not alone! Work with other loved ones and healthcare professionals to support your loved one.
* Try and keep a positive outlook on supporting your ill loved one.
* Practice self-care.
* Maintain healthy boundaries. Don’t do more than you are comfortable with or did not previously agree to.
* Accept that you can’t do it all. Everyone needs help, so why shouldn’t you?
* When you need it, don’t hesitate to get help.
* Draw on your spirituality or worldviews to give you strength, and encourage your loved one to do the same.
* Maintain a clear line of communication with your ill loved one.
* Rely on the healthcare workers in your support network.
* Set realistic goals and expectations for your loved one’s prognosis and your caretaking abilities.
* Join a support group for caretakers.
* Read up on the illness that your loved one has.
* Learn how to plan financially and legally.