Caring for a sick family member can be stressful, emotional, and extremely tiring. You have to balance the practical needs of your loved one, alongside their feelings, your feelings, and of course, everyday life.
If you’re in the position of providing care for someone whilst they heal at home, the following five tips should help you help them with as much ease as possible in this tricky situation:
During these strange times we live in, hygiene at home is so important. This is especially true if your loved one has COVID-19, or if they have recently come from a hospital or high-risk facility.
Be sure to use appropriate disinfectant products for cleaning, along with antibacterial gel, face coverings, and gloves whenever you need to. Do also ensure you use reputable medical equipment suppliers. This will give you confidence that the products you’re using are effectively getting their jobs done.
When you care for a loved one, it can be easy to get so stuck into the practical side of things that you forget the person you’re caring for. This is why it is so important to keep the conversation going to understand your loved ones needs, and maybe bring some lightness to a challenging situation.
A joke and a laugh together here and there, perhaps some reminiscing and shared understanding of each other – these exchanges can go a long way to avoiding arguments and protecting the relationship you have.
It is so important to ensure that you gain help from trained professionals in your local area. There may be charities providing support, or state-funded nursing, depending on your circumstances. Your loved one may also have medical insurance that provides nursing visits at home. Look into which services are available, and utilize that support.
Nearly 50 million American adults act as unpaid caregivers to a loved one, and many of those caregivers can become dangerously overwhelmed. If you get so emotionally and physically exhausted from caring for an unwell loved one that you forget about your own needs, this is bad news for you and your loved one. So, be kind to yourself and tend to your needs as much as you can.
When you have a loved one recovering at home, the care that you provide can be a key focus, but it isn’t your entire life. You may have a career, children, and a personal life full of other friends and family members that love you and need you. If you’re one of the 1 million young caregivers in the US, you may even have school to balance with your caregiving duties. Making time for those things is essential to your wellbeing.
Don’t be afraid to be open with your employer, asking for understanding and a flexible schedule to help you work around your responsibilities as a caregiver. You should also speak to friends and family members who understand what you’re going through. You may be able to share the responsibility of care (as and when it is appropriate to do so). Your network is your escape, your support, and your sense of identity, so it is important to nurture it.
Caring for a loved one is rewarding and challenging at the same time. To make sure everyone involved stays as happy and healthy as possible, follow the tips above, and never be afraid to reach out. There is support out there waiting for you.