When caring for another, you can’t neglect yourself
It’s easy to get wrapped up completely in caring for someone and put his or her needs before your own, but you can’t forget to make yourself a priority.
When you feel overwhelmed, get help. Enlist the help of a friend, family member, neighbor or respite care service so you can get away from it all for a little while. If interested in a professional service, look into financial assistance programs from state and federal funding sources. Some states offer Lifespan Respite Care Programs that provide community-based respite for those caring for family members. Visit the Access to Respite Care and Help (ARCH) National Respite Network and Resource Center website. They offer a respite locator link on their home page that also directs to a state-by-state directory of available programs. If professional services aren’t feasible, you can ask friends, neighbors and family members for help with caregiving, as well.
Balance Work Life and Home Life
When you have a full-time job, work can sometimes get in the way of your loved one's care. Yet there are ways to be proactive and take advantage of your work's benefits, policies and resources. You'd be surprised how flexible some companies can be.
Consider asking a loved one, neighbor or family friend to help out. Another option is the National Volunteer Caregiving Network, which may be able to help you find someone to help out in your area.
Adding caregiving responsibilities to an already full schedule can turn a busy life into a hectic one. And no one wants to feel out of control. The best way to feel more comfortable with your new normal as a caregiver is to organize all that you need to do. This could be writing out a to-do list or utilizing digital tools designed to help you stay organized. Whatever strategy you end up using, remember that you’re only human and shouldn’t necessarily take on everything on your own.
Keep a Journal
It might not seem like much, but keeping a journal can help you feel a lot better about your situation. The act of putting your fears, hopes and frustrations on paper may be helpful to some. Before you shrug off the idea, give it a try and see if it works for you.
Also reach out to other caregivers in the SBS community to talk to those who understand exactly what you’re going through.
Utilize Caregiver Resources Designed Specifically for You
Sometimes being an SBS caregiver can feel isolating, but there are other caregivers like you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to a community that has your well-being as a caregiver in mind.
Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA)
Working as a public voice for caregivers, the FCA is the first community-based nonprofit organization in the U.S. to voice the needs of long-term caregivers. The FCA supports and sustains caregivers with national, state and local programs and resources.
National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC)
This nonprofit coalition of national organizations focuses on advancing family caregiving through research and advocacy. The NAC analyzes policy, develops best-practice programs and helps families work through caregiving issues.