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Caregivers’ emotional health: tools to maintain a balance

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A CAREGIVER is someone who has the difficult task of caring for a child, adolescent, adult, or elderly person who is ill or disabled. The caregiver may be a family member, friend, or paid professional. He will have the responsibility of taking care of the basic daily needs of the sick individual because he is in a state of dependency. The caregiver has a complex job, which influences his emotional health, and he must be attentive to his feelings and mental health in order to remain balanced in the task at hand. The key is to know perfectly the problem they are facing themselves, in order to apply healthy solutions.

Difficulties a caregiver may face

As the caregiver carries out his task, he is likely to face various difficulties due to the complexity of his or her work. Dependent sick and disabled individuals demand exclusive dedication throughout the day. They go through various moods and may sometimes feel sad, angry, frustrated, and hopeless, among other negative emotions. Logically, this context has a negative impact on the caregiver’s emotional health, which is why he is likely to experience the following difficulties.

-Feeling absolutely overwhelmed by the delicate situation in which the patient finds himself.

-Poor quality of sleep, sleeping too little or too much.

-Poor nutrition, eating too much or too little.

-Feeling excessive tiredness most of the time.

-Beginning to consume alcohol in excess or to exceed in the intake of prescribed psychotropic drugs.

-Getting irritable easily.

-Losing interest in activities that were previously enjoyed.

-Generalized lack of motivation.

-High level of stress that lasts over time, which can lead to worse disorders such as depression or generalized anxiety.

As can be seen, the emotional health of the caregiver is negatively affected. In addition, the caregiver is likely to eat poorly, sleep poorly and lead a sedentary life. In the medium term, he may suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and severe sleep disorders.

Strategies to protect emotional health

Being a caregiver is a mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding job. The job presents many challenges, but fortunately, there are tools to help caregivers maintain a healthy balance while performing their job. Here are some strategies for caregivers to protect their overall health.

-The caregiver must prioritize himself, if he does not take care of himself, he will not be able to take care of others.

-Attend a support group geared exclusively for caregivers. Several hospitals and even churches offer group, psychological support groups, exclusively for caregivers. There everyone understands the situation of a caregiver, so they will know how to understand and support him psychologically.

-The caregiver should encourage social activity, within his possibilities. He should keep in touch with family and friends for affective support. Even if it means going for a walk with a friend to have a pleasant conversation. Everything is valid if the intention is to feel good.

-Maintain a healthy routine. The CAREGIVER deserves to protect his overall health. He should establish a daily routine of eating well, being physically active and getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

-Accept help for the benefit of the caregiver and the ill patient. If the CAREGIVER is unable to carry out an excessively difficult task, it is advisable to accept help from others so that he does not harm his health. In the same way, the patient receives the care he/she needs.

-Consult the doctor in case of any doubt. The caregiver should keep healthy, so he should not avoid the corresponding medical consultations and should perform the tests that he orders.

-The caregiver should value the work he/she does since he/she is giving the best of himself to make others feel better. The caregiver should not over-demand himself because he should prioritize his emotional health above all else.

Conclusion

Protecting the emotional health of a caregiver is a fundamental point for him to perform his work in a harmonious way, taking care of himself without getting overwhelmed in front of a complex situation. For more help on Caregiver’s emotional health visit Wisdom Senior care. The caregiver should focus on how rewarding this work can be since he is performing an altruistic task by improving the life of another human being. The key is to prioritize integral health in order to maintain a healthy balance.

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Wisdom Senior Care

Dealing with Seniors’ Caregiver’s Emotional Health

The emotional side of caregiving is quite overwhelming. Caregiving can be a tasking and exhausting work, especially if the daily activities are demanding. You might shift your life’s priorities as you work round the clock to take care of others physically and emotionally.

It’s estimated that almost 16% of caregivers feel emotionally strained. On the other hand, around 22% of them feel exhausted when they finally go to bed. Some of the challenges that come with caregiving include:

Burnout

This is a constant state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Caregiver burnout can sometimes be accompanied by a change in the individual’s attitude. For instance, their attitude can change from positive and happy to unconcerned. It generally occurs when the caregiver doesn’t receive the necessary help, e.g., financially, physically, etc.

Sadness/Depression

There is no doubt that caregiving is a valuable job. Still, those tasked with such responsibilities are at a high risk of getting depressed or experiencing constant sadness, helplessness, or hopelessness. They may also experience insomnia, sleeplessness, and feel demotivated.

Disgust

Some of the caregiving tasks can easily lead to disgust. For instance, helping someone use the washroom or cleaning an adult who has soiled their diaper, etc. Note that this can be an awful experience since not everyone can comfortably handle matters that involve cleaning private parts.

Ambivalence

It’s not unusual for a caregiver to find their job annoying and feel like they should stop doing it. On the other hand, it’s also common for them to sometimes feel like they love their job. These two feelings can occur from time to time, and it’s what’s known as ambivalence, i.e., a feeling of loving and hating your job.

There are bad days that usually lead to negative thoughts. Meanwhile, there are also good days that make caregivers feel like they are doing an important job.

Anxiety

Dealing with delicate people under your care can easily make you anxious. You might be worried that things can spiral out of control easily, leaving you helpless. On an impulse, you might feel like you are doing things incorrectly and even get the urge to scream.

There is much stress that comes with being a caregiver. There are those that experience grief, especially when the receiver’s health starts to decline. Others are embarrassed, while some feel guilty. All these feelings and experiences are valid, and no caregiver should regret what they feel.

But regardless of all these, it’s possible for those caring for those to cope. Several techniques can help ease the burnout, anxiety, and stress of this role.

Acceptance

This is the first step towards leading a healthy caregiver life. You need to accept your role since there’s nothing you can change. People always ask themselves why but dwelling on this won’t change the current state. Of course, you might want answers, but your loved one still needs care at the end of the day, and this is what you should offer them.

Celebrate small wins

Set a few little goals for a start, and every time you smash them, ensure that you celebrate. This is important in reminding you that what you are doing is valuable and that your efforts matter.

Practice self-care

You shouldn’t get completely absorbed in your role as the caregiver such that you end up forgetting yourself. Remember that you also have a life to live, and you should, therefore, choose yourself as well. You need to build relationships with other people who can support you. It’s all about balance because you need to feel fulfilled to take care of others fully.

Do your best

The goal should be to do what you can in the best way possible. There are things you can’t control; hence you shouldn’t try to spend hours stressing over them and wishing you could change a thing. Focus on what you can control.

Seek therapy

As much as you should keep physically fit, don’t forget to prioritize your mental health. Ensure that you can figure out signs of stress and burnout. This will ensure that you seek help on time. Caregiver stress can easily lead to a compromised immune system, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Being in charge of a loved one who isn’t healthy isn’t easy. Regular therapy sessions will help you cope with stress, grief, and isolation better.