If you’re caring for an elderly loved one, it can be described quite accurately as an emotional rollercoaster. If it’s a relatively new concept to you and you’d like some tips on how to be a great carer for your loved one, we’ve put together a bit of a guide for you.
Here is a list of things that we believe every carer needs – an elder carer ‘survival kit’ – to help you on your way!
One of the things you will probably need in bucket loads is patience. It can be a really tough job at times for a number of reasons; whether it’s because your loved one has cognitive issues or mobility problems, for example, as this can make their life really tough which will have a knock on effect on you as you care for them. Keeping your cool in particularly testing times is essential, though everyone’s only human and if you do find being patient hard on occasion, you won’t be the first.
A sense of humour
Taking each task (especially particularly unpleasant ones) with a pinch of salt and a sense of humour is arguably the best way to get through them. It’s the best way to keep your sanity and to maintain a positive and happy relationship between the two of you, too.
Help and support
You’ll need a good support network around you to help you through the tough times, and so you’ve got someone looking out for you whilst you look after your loved one, too! Don’t be afraid to ask for some extra professional help too, from companies like Extra Care at Home when you feel like you’re struggling as that’s what it’s there for.
Particularly if your loved one is suffering from an illness that affects their cognitive behaviour such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be really testing when it comes to dealing with their unpredictable behaviour through no fault of their own. You will need to be strong and resilient, and will need to take time to remind yourself when they seem unhappy for example, it’s nothing you’ve done wrong, and it’s their illness.
A self-care routine
It’s essential that you take good care of yourself when you’re caring for someone else so that you can do the job as best as possible without causing yourself any problems. Ensure you get an adequate amount of rest to recuperate, and optimise your diet so it’s as good as it can be for keeping you fit and healthy.
Awareness and responsiveness
You may need to be on the lookout for any further problems that your loved one may experience, especially if they already have a health problem that can lead to other complications. Be aware of symptoms of many illnesses and problems so that you can act quickly and accordingly. If you’re ever unsure of anything, speak to the GP or a pharmacist for advice. Adaptability is important too so that you can adjust to any new needs they may have.