Being full-time or part-time carer for someone you love and live with can take its toll, not only on yourself, but on your relationships and general wellbeing. As a Carer, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the other person’s life and forget about yourself at times which, when you think about it, can be detrimental for a number of reasons. Knowing how to cope with the challenges you face can really help when it comes to living your life as a carer, so continue reading to find out more.
1. As a Carer, take it one step at a time
Becoming a carer is like entering a whole new world where even the strongest of people can find themselves struggling. This new role may come along all of a sudden or may even be a gradual process; either way, your new list of responsibilities can be overwhelming, especially if you dwell on the past, present and future all at once. It may sound cliche, but taking each day as it comes is the best way to combat the feeling of being snowed under. Focusing on the now and not so much on what might be around the corner can help you to feel more grounded, confident and in control than before.
2. Be kind to yourself
Transitioning to becoming a carer for someone isn’t always easy and, as we’ve mentioned, even the strongest of people will feel the strain. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to have ‘off days’ or to feel as though you’re not doing enough – after all, you’re only human and we all make mistakes. You may also find that a doctor’s opinion is not something that works well for your loved one which is something that you, as the person who knows them best, should contest if you desire to. Have confidence in what you are doing and learn to see challenges and setbacks as learning curves.
3. Put yourself first sometimes
Looking after yourself whilst you’re dedicating such a large portion of your life to someone else can be hard. You’ll most likely find that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for you to take a few out and pay some well-deserved attention to yourself. However, this is exactly what you should be doing! If you’re not looking after yourself properly, your level of care might start to suffer due to you being tired or just generally worn down. Even if it’s only an hour of two on an evening, or once or twice a week, sitting down and relaxing to switch your mind off for a short period will do you the world of good. Make it even more special and allow yourself a treat such as a hot bubble bath or some expensive chocolate; you’ll thank yourself for it later on.
4. Recognise that you are a carer
When you become a carer, the true transition into your new role can go undetected, meaning you may be missing out on the magnitude of such a change. It may not be until a large change comes along, such as a spouse leaving their job due to their illness, that you realise that you are now their carer, rather than just their partner. Acknowledging this and digesting it can take some time and may be a rather turbulent process for everyone involved. This is understandable as being a ‘carer’ can often bring with it negative connotations and a seemingly predetermined life for yourself. Talking to others, whether they are family members, friends or a local care group, will help you to adjust to being a carer and have a more positive outlook on life.
5. Seek expert advice
No one expects you to know everything as a carer, especially if you’ve had no experience with administering care in the past. There’s a whole world of information out there regarding care and care specific to your dependent’s condition, so much so that it can be virtually impossible to know absolutely everything. If you’re struggling with where to start or if you’re caring in the correct way, contacting social services is a good option. You can also seek advice from online forums, local support groups and helplines, all of which will be more than happy to provide you with the information you require. For those who have been caring for a substantial amount of time but have felt an added pressure in recent times, considering a live in carer or visiting carer may also be beneficial.
6. Receive a full assessment
When someone becomes a carer, the chances are that their home won’t be specially adapted in order to ease day-to-day life, particularly if you find yourself caring in a family home. Receiving a full assessment is essential for any situation where yourself or the person you are caring for requires an extra helping hand. Your local authority will be able to provide a Comprehensive Needs Assessment which will also include a Financial Assessment in order to make sure you’re getting as much help as possible; you may not realise how useful small changes can be until you see them in action!
7. Don’t go it alone
Being a carer certainly has its ups and its downs and it’s crucial to remember that you’re taking on a big responsibility whilst also living the life you want too. If you feel the need to offload some of your worries or questions on someone else, don’t hesitate to do so! Keeping your mind clear and calm will prove beneficial in the long run and, as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.
If you feel that you may benefit from exploring live in care or visiting care options, or any other care services, why not contact us on 0808 223 0096 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with a member of the team.