In the U.S. about one in five adults is currently providing unpaid health or supportive care to someone they love.
It takes patience, time, and energy to be a caregiver and it isn’t always easy.
Here are some tips for any type of caregiver. It’s Your Health tonight.
An aging parent, a sick spouse, or a child with a disability, care-giving comes in different forms and it can be both rewarding and stressful.
More than 65 million Americans provide care for a family member of a friend during any given year.
About 40% of caregivers leave their jobs to have more time to care for a loved one. About half of all caregivers feel they have no choice about taking on the responsibilities.
So what makes for a good caregiver? The first step is to take care of yourself.
“A phrase I use often is ‘take your oxygen first.’ If you don’t you’re going to be less capable of helping that loved one,” said Dr. Rosemary Laird, M.D. Geriatrician.
Make sure that you get plenty of rest, eat a well balanced diet, and don’t skip your own medical appointments.
Also delegate responsibilities for instance if you are providing day-to-day care, maybe another family member can manage finances or medications.
When possible let the person being cared for participate in decision making.
Support groups are another great resource to help you connect with other caregivers.
Recognize also when it becomes too much you might want to consider an assisted living or other type of facility for your loved one.
“You can spend your time in a much more quality filled way than when you were having to dole out the medicine and fight with them to get a shower and do those tasks,” said Dr. Laird.