Caregivers get a lot of things done each day. Some of them cook, clean, and run errands for their aging relatives. They might also organize medicines, set up medical appointments, and provide personal care, like assistance bathing. However, there are certainly some things that caregivers should not do because they can compromise the caregiver’s physical and mental health as well as make their lives less enjoyable.
Below are 5 things caregivers should never do.
#1: Skip Medical Appointments
Lots of caregivers fail to go to their regular medical appointments, like annual physicals, follow ups for medical conditions, and dentist appointments. This can result in missing illnesses when they are in early stages and can be more successfully treated. It can also mean existing conditions aren’t controlled very well. Eventually, the caregiver’s health may be so compromised that they are unable to care for the older adult.
#2: Neglect a Healthy Diet
A lack of time can cause caregivers to find little time to prepare themselves a healthy meal. Instead, they may grab fast food meals or skip meals altogether. Not eating well can cause weight gain or malnutrition. Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Being malnourished could lead to weakness, fatigue, and illness.
#3: Isolate Yourself from Friends
Many caregivers find little time to spend on their social lives. It’s hard to juggle work, family, and caregiver duties, let alone make time for friends. However, now is the time you need your friends the most. Being a caregiver is hard. You need a shoulder to lean on and someone to talk to. You also need to be around positive people that you enjoy. Try to spend time with your friends on a regular basis. Go out for coffee, chat on the phone, or have a meal together.
#4: Refuse Help
You may feel like you should be able to do everything and feel like a failure when you cannot. That can cause you to refuse help when people offer it. Trying to do everything on your own can lead to burnout and leave you feeling unhappy with the level of care the older adult is receiving. When a friend or family member offers to cook a meal, run an errand, or spend some time with the older adult, so you can have some time for yourself, accept their offer!
#5: Forget You’re Important
Some caregivers feel like what they do is no big deal and that they’re only doing what anyone would. The truth is that not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver or willing to take on the task. The fact that you offer help to your aging relative is truly important to their wellbeing. Without you, they may not be able to continue living at home and need to move to a long-term care facility.