Being a caregiver often means that you’re learning about this caregiving thing on your own. You might have to ramp up quickly, which just adds to the stress and strain.
These tools can help.
Websites are probably the easiest source of self-help information to start out with as a caregiver. They’re fairly portable if you use a smartphone or a tablet and you can find not only expert information but also information from other caregivers. There’s a lot to learn out there and you can get as much or as little information as you want.
Books can give you a more formal education about caregiving and the various issues that you and your senior might face. Be sure to check your local library, especially if some of the books you’re interested in are rather expensive. They may have an electronic version or they may be able to find funds in their budget to purchase books you’re interested in that they don’t yet have.
You might not think of meditation as a tool, but it is. Meditating regularly can help you to clear your mind and to deal with the stress that you encounter on a daily basis. You don’t have to meditate for hours to get the benefits, either. Find five minutes in a quiet room and just focus on your breathing. Don’t worry about what you’re thinking or whether you’re meditating correctly or not. Just focus on your breathing.
Journaling helps you to dig deeper than you might have thought possible to find out what motivates you, what’s behind some of the feelings you’re experiencing, and more. You can solve problems through simple journaling that have been stumping you for months. It can feel awkward at first but stick with it.
Support groups allow you to meet other people who are in a similar situation to your own. You’ll be able to share your thoughts, your feelings, and your fears with people who truly get what you’re saying. They can offer advice, point you toward resources, and just commiserate with you. Going to a support group can be scary but it’s worth exploring that option to see if it helps you.
Explore a few of these options and see how well they work for you. Some might be more helpful at different stages of your journey as a caregiver. When you land on the right combination, you’ll be able to expand what you’re able to do while taking care of your senior.