As a Caregiver Coach and as a former caregiver, I have always advocated for the caregiver. When you hear the statistic that 60% of family caregivers die before the person they are caring for, it makes you assess your own circumstances. Are you feeling more stressed, anxious, tired, angry? Those can be symptoms of caregiver fatigue. Do not wait until you or your loved one is in a critical situation and your choices become limited and more complicated by stress and time.
One of the key services About Seniors offers is respite (temporary) or future planning (contingency). This often involves touring various options, such as group homes, care facilities and larger communities. They will provide you with an alternative plan should you or your loved one need it. There is no financial cost to looking and assessing your needs. Let the professionals do their job and help you find the right place for your loved one.
The resulting costs can be your peace of mind and a contingency plan should you need it. Placement professionals are also able to help you determine what your financial costs will be and what options are yours. Keeping someone at home who needs more care may cost less financially, but the personal cost to the caregiver can be high. Take time now to work on a contingency plan; you may never need it, but it is your personal insurance.
Being a caregiver is a full-time job and more. Here are some helpful hints for dealing with that:
1. Negativity - see negative events as temporary and see positive aspects as proof that good outcomes are likely. Search for positive aspects of difficult situations.
2. Discouraging self-talk - avoid self-talk that focuses on your fears and shortcomings. Encourage yourself and emphasize your strengths and past successes.
3. Helplessness - prepare as much as possible for stressful situations. Don't give up. Examine your options and look for ways to change the situation.
4. All-or-nothing thinking - instead of viewing events in stark black or white, accept that life usually proceeds in shades of gray. No single event will determine your worth or success.
5. Personalizing - cultivate a sense of perspective. Accept that you cannot control every situation and absolve yourself of unwarranted blame.
6. Catastrophizing - don't put a negative spin on every event before their outcome is determined. Remind yourself that such thoughts are not helpful since the outcome is not yet known.
Jefferey A. Dusek, Ph.D., Research Director of Abbott Northwestern's Institute for Health and Healing in Minneapolis says that "your own thoughts can provoke you into a stress response? You can reconstruct your thoughts to make yourself more resilient in the face of stress."