Right now there are about 7 million carers in the UK, which is more than one in ten of the population. This number is rising. Three in five people in the UK will be a carer at some point in their life. Many of us are caring for an elderly relative or client, which is one of the most important things we can do as an adult. It can also be one of the most difficult and stressful responsibilities we will have. So we’ve come up with a list of 10 tips we hope might be helpful in making the most of the situation..
- Understand their frustration: It can be a very unsettling time for anyone when they are losing or have lost their independence. Frustration will almost certainly manifest in one way or another and will very likely be aimed at you on occasion. It’s useful to understand that this is a fairly common reaction to the difficult situation and not to take it personally.
- Keep things light hearted!: Crack a few jokes here and there, do silly things that make the person you are caring for laugh, watch something entertaining together on TV or whatever it is that puts a smile on you or the person you are caring for’s face.
- Try to make the person you are caring for feel valued and useful: You can ask for their advice which can be a great way to show respect and that they are of true value to you. You can also let them be as independent as possible and give them responsibility for various tasks that can promote a feeling of self worth.
- Take care of yourself: Try to find ways to switch off and recharge, this can be by taking a bit of time each day for yourself or asking for help when it all becomes a bit too much. If you are a relative, then trying to balance your daily life commitments such as work, children, running your household on top of caring for a relative can be exhausting.
- Appreciate the positive: While we might not normally choose to be thrust into the role of a carer for our relatives, or are finding a particular client very challenging, a lot of positives may come out of it. We may be spending more time with them than we otherwise would have, we may feel a stronger sense of connection, and a sense of compassion may arise. Often, challenging periods in our life can be times of transformation, we can learn a lot from the process and come out of the other side stronger and wiser.
- Use the support of the people around you: Share the burden as much as you are able, try to get other friends and family members to support as much as possible – this can be practical support such as cooking, cleaning, spending time with the person you are caring for, or emotional support by simply offering a sympathetic ear to listen to your experiences.
- Appreciate support from professionals: Health care professionals can be very supportive in these situations also. They have a lot of experience and can often offer a lot of useful advice.
- Take it one step at a time: This can be a long process if you are the main carer so usually there’s no need to rush. If care is a new then you and/or the person you are caring for are likely to be in an unfamiliar situation so try to let things unfold as naturally as possible.
- Set a positive intention: Whether you have a religious inclination or not, many find it supportive to pray, reflect or meditate. This can be done incorporating your own faith or even in a secular way simply taking a few moments to wish the person you are caring for to be as happy and and at ease as possible and that you may be able to help them with that.
- Understand that things change: Caring for somebody can be incredibly overwhelming and very difficult emotionally. It helps to remember that this won’t be our experience forever. We may develop a sense of acceptance of the situation and an openness to what it entails and our relationship to the role may change over time.
If you are in a situation where you feel you are considering live in care or are a carer and would like to be a live in carer with careleaf then do get in touch. You can call us on 0208 1239 714 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find to find out how we can help.