If you're giving home care assistance 24-hours a day for a family member or loved one, there's a good chance you don't get a lot of time to relax. Caregiving is difficult work even under the best circumstances, and it can be even more stressful when you're taking care of someone you're extremely close to. Luckily, there are a few ways you can unwind and de-stress even after a hard week of taking care of a loved one.
Look Into Getting Government Assistance
Depending on the patient's condition as well as their insurance, your loved one is likely eligible for various levels of medical and non-medical at-home care. There are programs out there to assist caregivers with government-aided caregiver employment and in-home nursing visits. You can also receive help paying for medical equipment and supplies. It's easier to receive aid for providing care in-home as opposed to placing a loved one inside a facility, so take advantage of this fact and get help when you need it. If you can gain more help, you'll have less reasons to be stressed.
Split Shifts with Other Family Members
It isn't easy being a caregiver, especially on a 24-hour basis. Make sure to take breaks when you need them. Arranging a schedule around taking a couple days off a week is a good idea, but it may be preferable to arrange a schedule where you work in split shifts with another family member. This lets both of you get a little time off while keeping a schedule that's as consistent as possible that will reassure your loved one. A split shift also allows you to regularly keep other appointments and do more socially. It's important to remember your own emotional and mental health throughout this challenging time.
Balance You and Your Loved One's Needs
Consistency is important when you're a caregiver, but don't forget that you can easily make changes in your caregiving routine that keep the patient healthy and safe but also make your own life a little more comfortable. If you easily become restless due to always staying indoors, for example, you can arrange a few hours every day when you take your loved one for a walk or sit out on a sunny patio. Make changes to the patient's area to allow more sunshine to enter the room. Arrange for friends and family members to visit more frequently in order to keep the atmosphere positive. A positive environment is important to both of you.
In addition to the above tips, make sure to seek out professional or group help if you ever feel the need to talk to someone. There is support out there for caregivers. By looking at the situation in a new light, you can often find ways to relax and find time for yourself. Your loved one is, of course, your priority, but you matter as well.