July 14, 2020
If you’re trying to keep being productive and effective as a caregiver, you might have wondered whether there’s more you can do. There are definitely things you can do, but it might surprise you to find out that a lot of what you need are tools for yourself.
When you talk to yourself in “shoulds” that is a great way for you to beat yourself up a bit. You start to notice more and more of what you’re not getting to, instead of noticing all of the wonderful things that you are succeeding at accomplishing. Putting the brakes on “should” helps you to think about what you need to do in a slightly different way that’s healthier for you as a caregiver.
Boundaries feel complicated, but they’re really very simple. They are really just your limitations, the points beyond which you’re not comfortable. One of your emotional boundaries might be that you’ll help your senior as much as you can, but not when you’re dealing with another specific obligation. Part of respecting that boundary might involve putting a plan in place, like hiring elderly care providers, so your senior isn’t left in the lurch and you still maintain your boundary.
There are all the regular things you need to be doing to keep yourself healthy, too. Believe it or not, keeping yourself physically and emotionally healthy enables you to be the best caregiver that you can possibly be. That’s important for both you and your senior. Eat foods that fuel your body appropriately and make sure you’re getting enough rest. Exercise is the third component.
You need a support system for yourself. That includes people who are close to you as well as other support people, like elderly care providers. Your team may not look like any other caregiver’s team and that’s okay. What’s important is that you and your senior have support when you need it and in the ways that you need it.
Measuring how effective you are as a caregiver may feel subjective to you at first. What really matters is that you’re meeting your senior’s needs and that you’re able to do what you need and want to do for yourself as well.