Characteristics of a good Carer
A person who is compassionate, calm, thoughtful and understands how to care for themselves.
Great Carers forget the last component because their focus is to support and care for their Elderly relative or partner. It’s critical to fill your own cup, if you don’t you won’t have anything to give away. Even though being a carer is very rewarding, at times it can be draining emotionally, mentally and physically. Remember to spend a few minutes each day to think about you and ways to care for yourself.
Many Carers may do this already, it is a good idea to remind ourselves from time-to-time about the very things that keep us safe, happy and healthy.
Helpful Tips for Main Carers
Stay connected with others
At times we may not feel like going outside, socialising or even moving off the couch. However, if we push ourselves and make the effort, more often than not we have an enjoyable time. It helps to recharge our batteries and refresh our soul.
Find an activity or interest that you used to enjoy or just spend some time with your family or friends. Consider joining a group or a club, or have a go at playing tennis or golf. You may even like to take an educational course and learn something new. The University of the 3rd Age is especially suited to older members of the community who are isolated, either geographically or through physical, or social circumstances.
Ask for and accept help
How many times have you been there for your Loved One but have felt uncomfortable about accepting help yourself? Now is the time to rethink that. You are just as deserving as anyone else. If someone offers to help you, let them. Carers can’t do everything and be everything to everyone. Let people help you and your Loved One.
Set realistic goals, both short and long-term. This can give us something to look forward to and to work towards. Goal setting can be a particularly positive step to take in the face of adversity, when things may otherwise seem overwhelming. In tough times look towards the future, this can help you to move forward in a more positive way.
Change is a fact of life. It is important for a carer’s mental health and for building resilience that we accept the things that we cannot change. This helps us move our focus to parts of our life, which we have more control. Don’t live in the past or future. If you do, you will miss what’s happening right now. Focus on the moment and enjoy each experience to the full.
Pick your battles
One of the biggest contributing factors of poor mental and physical health is stress. Are you taking on other people’s worries, over dramatising or thinking of only the worst possible outcome? Well, take a few minutes and a few deep breaths to consider what the worst case scenario really is. Some things just don’t matter, don’t argue or stress over small issues. This is a waste of time and energy, particularly if your Elderly relative or partner has dementia.
Eat, drink and sleep well
Everything in moderation. A little bit of what you fancy does you good. However, too much of what you fancy eating and too often can be extremely detrimental to your physical and mental health. Try to eat as healthy as you can on a regular basis, this will help you avoid blood sugar dips and highs which in turn can affect mood and behaviour.
Drink enough water to keep you well hydrated, particularly during the summer months. Dehydration can cause listlessness, agitation and mental cloudiness. Aim to get enough sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, rest quietly often and talk with your doctor about strategies that may help.
When you need a break to rejuvenate yourself, we can provide in Home respite care or Live in Care. Feel free to give us a ring on 02 9970 7333 and we can arrange a no obligation inhome visit by one of our Nurses.
Have a read on how this husband takes regular holidays for his respite.
(MSW, RN, Adv Dip MH Nursing)
Daughterly Care Private Registered Nurse