At Right at Home, we understand the difficulties and challenges you may face when caring for a family member. As today marks Carers Rights Day, we share our advice for family CareGivers on ways they can look after themselves to enable them to provide the best possible care and support to their loved one.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You are only one person and there is only so much one person can do. Speak to neighbours, other family members or friends to share caring responsibilities so you can take a break.
It’s important that you take time for yourself to relax, enjoy personal interests and hobbies, and socialise with friends. Making time for yourself will lead to a happier you and ultimately allow you to provide the best support possible for your loved one.
We provide respite care for family CareGivers, whether it’s a few hours per week, a couple of hours per day or a week or two whilst you go on holiday. For many families, we are a trusted and familiar face that gives them peace of mind that their loved one is in safe hands whilst they take time for themselves.
Think about your own health
It’s common for family CareGivers to give all of their time and energy to the person they are caring for and this can take its toll physically, mentally and emotionally. In order to be able to provide the best support to a loved one, you need to make sure you are also looking after yourself. We all know the benefits of regular exercise for our physical health, but it is also important for our mental health. Regular exercise not only keeps you fit, it releases endorphins that can really boost your mood. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days, or as often as you can. If it’s difficult to get away for that long at once, break the time up into 10-minute sessions throughout the day.
Speak to other CareGivers
Local activities and lunch clubs are not only a good opportunity to get your loved one out in the local community to meet new people, they are also a great chance for you to talk to other CareGivers about your experiences and share tips and advice. You may find it easier to talk to other CareGivers because they are in the same position as you and understand some of the challenges you face. There are also online CareGiver support forums such as Carers UK.
Across our network of more than 60 locally owned and operated franchises, we run a number of activities which are open to the whole community, not just our Clients.
These include chair yoga, inclusive cricket, musical movement and dementia friendly activities like Singing for the Mind. Contact your local Right at Home office to find out what is happening in your local area.
Accept that there will be challenges
Like anything in life, being a family CareGiver will not be without its challenges. From time-to-time you may feel completely overwhelmed, you may feel guilty for feeling like you need a break or you may feel taken for granted. All of these emotions are completely normal and this is why we encourage you to talk to other CareGivers, as discussed above.
If you do find that you’re having a bad day, it’s important that you do not take it out on the person you are caring for.
Embrace technology to help make your life easier
The internet can help you save time on tasks such as grocery shopping, which can be delivered straight to your door and you can also set up online banking to pay bills. Taking advantage of these little things can help save time, particularly if you are caring for a loved one whilst also looking after children.
Training and support
As part of your role caring for a loved one, you may be required to help with moving them into a comfortable position or aiding them to their chair. It’s so important that you take good care of your back and posture whilst offering this kind of support. As part of our mission to support the family carers in our local community, many of our offices are happy to offer out any spare places on upcoming manual handling training sessions to those who need it.
If you would like further advice or support on caring for a loved one, contact your local Right at Home office.