Research by Statistics Canada shows that 30% of caregivers in Canada reported multiple signs of distress while carrying out their senior care duties.
Caregiving can be exhausting and emotionally taxing. Caregivers need to maintain a balance between their caregiving responsibilities and self-care. Otherwise, they will burn out. Only with self-care, a caregiver will be able to provide high-quality senior care.
How can caregivers take better care of themselves?
Here are the top tips and tricks from experts to help professional and family caregivers look after their own health :
- Eating regularly: One of the most important caregiver wellness tips is to never skip a meal and stick with a schedule of three proper meals every day. Junk food is bad for your health. If you feel an urge to snack between meals, try eating fruits and similar healthy alternatives. Healthy eating habits will improve your energy level and prevent illness. This in turn will help you provide better care to your clients.
- Exercising and getting good Sleep: One of the common signs of caregiver stress is the loss of or difficulty with falling asleep. This can lead to fatigue, stress and poor quality of work. Regular exercise is not only good for staying fit and flexible, but it can also help you sleep better. Even household work and gardening count as exercise so make sure that you and the seniors under your care stay active this way. Experts suggest that if a person remains active for just 150 minutes per week, they can improve their sleep quality by 65% and significantly improve their alertness and cognition.
- Taking respite breaks: Caregivers must take regular breaks and go out and have fun for a day or two every week. You can ask your senior’s family or friends to spend time with the elder and cover for you to get a break.If you work for an agency, ask them to get a backup respite caregiver to create opportunities for you to take a break. Take advantage of your free time to go out to eat, for a jog, visit the park for fresh air, do meditation or yoga and do other activities that you like. This will rejuvenate and refresh you so you can continue to provide high-quality senior care in a stress-free and healthy manner.
- Getting social support: Experts suggest that caregivers who find support in family and friends or are in support groups tend to perform better at their jobs. Non-judgmental help, especially from other caregivers, can help caregivers solve job-related problems and stay mentally strong while providing senior care.
- Journal writing: Maintaining a journal can help with catharsis. It can be a safe place for a caregiver to express anger, sadness, fear and pain without judgment. It can also help caregivers analyze their feelings. There are many other benefits. For example, a study has found that caregivers who maintain a journal boost their immunity.
Caregivers are humans and need to take care of themselves before they can take care of seniors. Caregivers face emotional and physical stress regularly. It can adversely affect their mood, cognition and health. Healthy eating, exercising, taking breaks, joining support groups and journal writing are among the top recommendations from experts for caregivers to take better care of themselves.
Want to Learn More?
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 1-855-410-7971, and we will be happy to assist. You can find more caregiving tips in our information booklets and on our resources page.