A career as a professional caregiver is very rewarding, as you are helping elderly people remain comfortable, healthy, and active. Not only do you provide assistance with daily tasks, you are a companion your patients and their families undoubtedly come to rely on. Yet dedicating yourself to others in this way is not without stress, as there are many struggles synonymous with elderly care. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and that many caregivers around the country and world go through the same experiences.
Family Dynamics & Opinions
Introducing yourself to your new patient and the person’s family can be intimidating, especially since several family members may have already been taking care of the older loved one and have a specific way of doing things. They may be resistant to your ideas, at least at first, since it can be difficult to put the older person’s care in the hands of virtual stranger. As long as you stay calm and dedicated to your job, the older person and his or her family will likely come around. They may even regard you as family after a time because of all the hard work you put in.
Neglecting the Self
Caregiver burnout is common among those who assist the elderly, as you are spending much of your time and energy attending someone else’s needs. Time for you often becomes an afterthought because of your rigorous work schedule. Learning to manage your time and save at least a few moments of each day for yourself is essential in avoiding caregiver burnout. Take a walk around your neighborhood, chat with a few friends, soak in a warm bath, or watch your favorite television show to relax and decompress. You will arrive at work feeling refreshed instead of drained.
Dealing With Illness & Death
One of the hardest parts—if not the hardest part—of providing elderly care is dealing with illness and death. You have spent countless hours attending to your patient, and may start regarding the person as family. Developing close relationships with the person’s family members is also possible. As important as it is to remain professional and help your other patients in the wake of their loved one’s passing, you must still take time to grieve your loss. Learning to grieve in healthy ways will ultimately help you become a better caregiver due to the resilience and strength you will gain.
Deer Valley Home Health Services has provided a full suite of elderly care services to the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area since 2005. Veteran private care, assisted living, and disabled adult and youth care are among these compassionate, outstanding services, all of which are easily customized to accommodate patient needs. Call (314) 355-3679 to speak with a caregiver, or visit their website for more information. Like the home health agency on Twitter for additional helpful tips.