How to Look After Yourself When You Care for a Loved One.

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If you are a carer for a loved one, or perhaps have a carer as someone with a long-term illness or chronic health condition, you will know that while it can be enjoyable and rewarding, it can be tough. Being able to take care of the needs of someone else, as well as yourself, can be a juggle, and often feel overwhelming. If you need some help and advice when it comes to caring for a loved one, then read on. As the old saying goes, you can’t fill from an empty cup, so looking after yourself is important as well.

Make each day different

It can be tough, but if you are caring for a loved one who isn’t very mobile and getting out of the house can be hard, then getting out and about can be the last thing on your mind for the day. However, having a change of scenery and keeping as active as possible is important for the mind in terms of dementia, as well as for their mental health. It can be a good thing for you as a carer too, as fresh air can make such a difference to how you feel too.

Think about routines

It can be easy to let the person you care for slip into your routine. This can be especially true if you don’t live in and just pop in each day at certain times. However, it is a good idea to think about the routine that is going to work best for those that you are caring for. It should help them to feel comfortable and at ease. This could look like not interrupting them when you know their favourite show is on TV or waiting to serve their meal at a better time, not just one that is more convenient for you. There needs to be a degree of flexibility with this, of course, but having a rethink of what you currently do is important.

Get the support that you need

Talking of routine and seeing what fits in with you as well as what fits in with others is important. However, there will be times when some things just won’t work; you can’t put everything that you need to do on hold. This is where getting help comes in. It may be that you just need another family member to step in for one day or perhaps you need to seek out the support of a carer support services team. It might be that you need physical help one day if you have an injury and lifting someone could make it worse. Look to create a circle of people around you that you can call on when needed and who you can trust and confide in.

Although the person you are caring for will come first most of the time, much like a relationship with a parent and child, you do still need to care for yourself. Putting plans in place that will make things easier for you, and give you any downtime that you need, is important.

This article was written by a freelance writer