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At Guardian home care, we understand that juggling the competing demands of caregiving with the responsibilities of your own life can create a variety of physical and emotional challenges. However, as a caregiver, it is important for you to find a balance and tend to your own health so that you can, in turn, provide the best care. Here are some tips to help you on your journey to being the best caregiver possible.

Read the Signs

Your loved one can’t always communicate when something is wrong, so it is important for you to keep an eye out for even the slightest change. Instead of immediately becoming frustrated, think of these actions as your loved one’s way of indicating to you that something may be wrong. These signs can include:

  • Bruises, scratches or burns that can’t be explained
  • Complaints about pain
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Frequent falling
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Mismanagement of medication
  • Missed or forgotten bill payments
  • Poor judgment calls on everyday activities
  • Sudden anxiety, frustration or confusion
  • Vision, hearing or balance problems

Manage Your Stress (Don’t Ignore It)

Symptoms of caregiver stress include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Declining overall health
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Mental and physical exhaustion

Caregiver stress can lead to complications including high blood pressure, diabetes, a compromised immune system and fatigue. To avoid the effects that caregiver stress can have on you, tell yourself to:

  • Approach your role one day, one hour and one minute at a time
  • Arrange for a getaway occasionally
  • Attend a caregiver class or seminar
  • Be realistic about what you can and cannot do
  • Join a support group
  • Keep a journal for venting
  • Keep your sense of humor
  • Pursue your own interests in your spare time

Accept Help

As a caregiver, it is always important to ask for help when:

  • The financial burden on you is no longer maintainable
  • The level of care required is beyond what you’re capable of
  • The physical demands are too much to manage
  • The strain on your personal and professional relationships is becoming too great
  • You feel you’ve reached your breaking point
  • Your emotional or physical health is declining

Keep a Caregiver Checklist

A caregiver checklist is a valuable tool in the event of an emergency. Keep a copy readily accessible that includes:

  • Current medication list
  • Emergency contact list
  • Health conditions, including allergies
  • Living will and do/do not resuscitate (DNR) designation
  • Location of extra sets of house and car keys
  • Physician and hospital preferences
  • Pet care directions
  • Power of attorney information
  • Registration with Early Notification Program (check with local law enforcement)
  • Secondary caregiver contact information (in the event you are incapacitated)

If you’re interested in more caregiver information or resources, or if you’re ready to experience the Guardian Home Care difference, you can call us at 215-444-7544 or contact us today.