6 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity as a Caregiver

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Happy male nurse and senior man enjoying while using tablet computer in nursing home porch

Providing home health care for a loved one or patient can be a very demanding job, especially in situations where that person is a fully incapable of self care. This scenario is occurring more and more throughout the country, including Phoenix, as the elderly population increases, and fairly often the caregiver is a spouse or other relative who provides round-the-clock assistance.

This can be a very trying situation to maintain, especially when lifting, bathing, feeding, and other requirements are involved – not to mention disruptions to rest and sleep for the loved one/patient’s unplanned needs. It’s not surprising that many caregivers in circumstances such as these find themselves exhausted both physically and mentally from the constant demand for care. To help cope with the effects of such intense home assistance, these suggestions for caregivers are offered.

Regular attitude checks

When the ‘nasties’ start creeping into your attitude, i.e. all the negatives and the many irritations of the daily care-giving routine, have a time-out, take a few deep breaths, and acknowledge them. Build in regular sanity checks throughout the day, and try to focus on the more positive aspects of life.

Don’t forget down time

Even in the midst of care-giving, down-time should be included. Whenever possible, try listening to soothing music, take little cat naps or at least close your eyes and relax when your loved one is also resting. Reading a book can be very calming, or watching a movie on television to take your mind off the duties of a caregiver.

Know your limits

Understand that you will simply never be able to do everything that could be done, and trying to do so will inevitably result in frustration. In addition, acknowledge the fact that you will occasionally forget something or fail in the attempt to accomplish something, and that those are normal limitations. Doing your best as a caregiver is all you can do – accept that, and spare yourself any self recriminations.

Maintain order

Staying organized in your daily routine can be an enormous boost to your sanity. By keeping your mind ordered, as well as most aspects of daily care, much of the annoyance of unanticipated incidents can be averted. Make use of technology wherever possible to help with organization, for instance keeping notes and reminders on your cellphone.

Remember the ‘why’

One final way to conduct a mini sanity check is to stop for a moment and recall the ‘why’ of what you’re doing. If you are a caregiver for a spouse or other relative, the care you provide is literally sustaining that person, and to some extent, adding to his/her quality of life. You are giving this care out of a deep sense of love and responsibility, and have chosen to do so.

Outside help

Soliciting the help of an outside service can be another huge boost to your sanity, even if their involvement is no more than one or two days each week. MD Home Assist provides just such personalized home care  in the Phoenix area from personal care to homemaking assistance.  Are you seeking an extra hand around the home? Give us a call and we’ll send someone over for a free consultation. We’ll even help plan a caregiving schedule that fits your unique individual needs. In the meantime, take a look at the Caring.com Caregiver Wellness Solution Center online for some amazing resources for caregivers.