Caring for someone who is sick or elderly can be stressful. Here are five ways to lighten your load and reduce the risk of burnout:
Seek out information. Your loved one’s VNSNY CHOICE Care Manager is an expert who can provide tips and offer in-home care techniques, from safely moving your loved one to making sure medications are taken. You can also visit websites for specific diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society, or the American Diabetes Association, for information that can help you manage symptoms and treatments.
Get support. Caregiver support groups allow you to connect with others who share your issues and concerns. Ask a VNSNY CHOICE Care Manager or social worker to help you find a group in your community, or get information about local support groups from the New York State Office of the Aging.
Ask for help. Caregiving is hard work! Assistance from friends, family, and professional home health aides is often necessary. Don’t be shy or feel guilty about asking for—or accepting—help.
Get away. Once you have help you can trust, take a break. Go for a brief walk, get your hair cut, or visit with a friend.
Take care of yourself. You aren’t being selfish when you see to your needs. After all, if you get sick, who will care for your family member? Your loved one needs a happy, healthy caregiver, so take steps to stay strong physically and mentally. Eat right and exercise, keep any doctor’s appointments you make for yourself, and continue to devote time to your hobbies and friends.