Anyone can be a family caregiver—a spouse, an adult child, a niece or nephew, or a good friend. Some caregivers end up doing the job gradually, starting by just running an errand here and there until one day they are providing hours of care each week. Others find themselves suddenly thrust into a caregiver role when a senior becomes seriously ill. Regardless of how being a caregiver comes about, most people have no idea what it is like until they are doing it.
What Do Caregivers Do?
Caregivers do a variety of tasks for their aging relatives. Some spend just an hour or two per week on caregiving duties. For others, caregiving is nearly a full-time job. Some of the things that caregivers typically do for older adults are:
- Schedule medical appointments and attend them with the senior.
- Cook meals.
- Assist with finances.
- lean the house.
- Run errands.
- Do laundry.
- Organize medications.
- Refill prescriptions.
- Assist with personal care, like bathing, toileting, and dressing.
While the physical tasks are time consuming, they are often not the hardest part of the job. Many caregivers find the emotional aspects the most difficult. Yet, they may also be the most rewarding. It can be emotionally draining to watch someone you care about deal with a major illness, especially if the illness is terminal. However, being a caregiver can also be a source of joy. It affords you extra time to spend with your family member, and you can feel good knowing you are helping them to live more comfortably and receive the care they need.
What Do Real Caregivers Say About the Job?
In an article posted on thecaregiverspace.org, real caregivers reported how they really feel about the responsibility. They reported everything from feeling suffocated to believing that how caregiving makes you feel depends on how you approach it. Some said being a caregiver “sucks” while others called it “inspiring and uplifting.”
How Can You Manage Your Feelings?
There’s no doubt that being a caregiver can make you feel down some days. The key to managing those feelings is to take care of yourself first. Focus on eating healthy foods and making time to exercise regularly. Also, no matter how busy you are, don’t skip your own medical appointments. Keeping up with friends and family members can also help. Make time to do the things you enjoy and spend time with others.
If you find that caregiving is having a harmful affect on your health or emotional well-being, talk to your doctor. You may benefit from counseling or medications to help with anxiety or depression.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Charlotte NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail.