Caring for loved ones at home is no easy feat. It involves plenty of hands-on work, time, and energy, but what often goes by the wayside is the understanding of the emotional and organization management also required.
At-home caregivers can often feel isolated, so it’s important to acknowledge that while each situation is unique, there are also common experiences to connect through and learn from. Navigating the murky landscape of caregiving can be illuminated with shared, foundational strategies:
- Establish roles: While it may seem obvious, determining roles and responsibilities of all parties involved, including those being cared for, establishes expectations and creates avenues for communication.
- Outline all needs, being sure to prioritize what are absolute musts: It is inevitable that in the day-to-day act of caregiving, uncontrollable elements such as time and circumstances will throw wrenches into routines and expectations. Identify bottom-line needs and find room to flex and adjust as needed.
- Schedule breaks and space: Caregiving can be exhausting. As the old flight adage goes, you must put your oxygen map on before putting on anyone else’s. Ensure that you as the caregiver are meeting your own needs, taking plenty of breaks and space to do so.
- Ask for help: In order to care for yourself alongside who you are caring for while also navigating any and all bumps that will come up, you will need to plan on asking for help. Whether it’s physical help, emotional support, or resource connection, identify who and where you can turn to, and plan on turning there often.