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Caregiving - Part 2, Survival Strategies - Aging Well With Marjorie
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Caregiving – Part 2, Survival Strategies

Caregiving – Part 2, Survival Strategies

If you want to have more positive feelings about caregiving, reduce your risk of becoming depressed and anxious, feel less frustrated or burdened, and feel better physically and emotionally, consider if some or all of the following tips might help you move in a more positive direction.

Attend support groups

  • Provides emotional support, information, and sharing of experiences
  • Sets your experience in context and helps you realize you are not alone

Reinterpret the situation

  • Get support with tasks that create discomfort, e.g. a son may not want to bathe his mother
  • Think of your caregiving as meaningful and important rather than unpleasant
  • Welcome your new identity as a caregiver, and consider this as a new, probably temporary, role for yourself

Accept what you cannot changephoto-1417024321782-1375735f8987 - Doug Robichaud

  • For example, not being recognized any more by your loved one
  • Accepting the overall progression of a disease
  • Relinquishing control of care to a care-giving facility



Ask for help

  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing only you can provide good care
  • Your obligation is to look after yourself so that you can provide care AND feel well yourself

Find and use resources

  • See if you can find other caregivers in your neighbourhood to provide mutual support, e.g. sharing a meal with another caregiver family
  • Create an adult day care group with other care-giving families for a few hours each week
  • See if you can find ways for the person you’re caring for to do simple tasks, such as folding laundry or chopping vegetables
  • Call on groups needing to do community service, e.g. high school students, girl guides, or boy scouts could help with laundry, yard care, housework, or meal preparation
  • If you have children living at home, Include the older ones in caregiving or household activities

Get family counselling

  • Get help dealing with moral conflicts, e.g. who uses vacation time to care for a parent?
  • Get help dealing with stress and depression
  • Learn behavior modification techniques to help you deal with dementia symptoms
  • This is usually more effective if the entire family system participates

Be realistic about what you can do

  • Reduce your other obligations, e.g. do volunteering now and again, not regularly
  • Let go of perfection – a spotless house should be a low or non-existent priority
  • Prioritize activities based on need, then on wants if you still have time
  • Identify tasks as to frequency and mark them on a calendar – daily, weekly, monthly
  • BE SURE to schedule time for yourself to do things that bring you pleasure and that connect you to other people

Keep things simple

  • Look for ways to de-clutter your life and caregiving
  • Focus on what matters to you and your family
  • Be less concerned about what other people think, e.g. choose comfortable rather than fashionable clothing and shoes for your parent or spouse

Find your voice

  • Advocate for your parent or spouse, yourself, and your family
  • Stand up for yourself and your own need for leisure activities and time with other people
  • Being an advocate is especially important in relation to medical and rehabilitation services

Learn to say NO!

  • Be sure you understand the level of commitment you’re being asked to do
  • Find out the purpose of a commitment – is it meaningful for you?
  • See if it fits with other commitments of you and your family
  • See where this would fall in your list of priorities
  • Take a few days to decide if you will commit or not

    Check out the helpful resources of Caregivers Nova Scotia.

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