Skip to main content
Illustration of people sitting and standing

New here?

Chat with other people who 'Get it'

with health professionals in the background to make sure everything is safe and supportive.

Register

Have an account?
Login

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Looking after ourselves

Shaz51
Community Guide
8 REPLIES 8

Re: Caring for the carer

I came across this article on the Australian Carers Guide website by Mary Bart  chair of Caregiving Matters, an Internet-based charity that offers education and support to family carers. 

DO:

 Stay connected with your friends. Even a short phone call, connecting over the internet or meeting for lunch will help you feel engaged and balanced, and will keep things in perspective.

 Exercise as often as you can. Try a regular walk around the block or join an aqua-fitness class at your local pool. Ask yourself this difficult question: “How is my health since becoming a carer?” Feed your spirit. Learn and practice stress-reducing techniques such as tai chi, yoga or mindful meditation.

 Laugh and keep your sense of humour. Sometimes the funniest things happen while providing care. Acknowledge and cherish those moments.

 Keep track of the money. Record both what you spend yourself and all financial transactions that you conduct on behalf your loved one.

 Value your sleep. Always get a good night’s sleep and, if possible, treat yourself to a short break during your day. This will give you the physical and emotional energy you need to get through your day.

 Know the signs of carer burnout. If you find yourself having limited time or energy, it might be time to take a step back.

 Be honest and proud. Your work and efforts matter. Don’t be shy to tell people about the valued work that you do. Be truthful with your family about your caring role, your abilities and how providing care is impacting your life (emotionally, physically and financially).

 Embrace change. Change is constant in providing care. What worked last week or even this morning may no longer be relevant. How well you accept and embrace change is key to staying stress free and being an effective carer.

 Enjoy the good times. Escape when you can and cherish time for yourself. Take lots of pictures to share and keep a journal to remember the things you did together.

 Seek and accept help from others. Going it alone is not sustainable. Having the help of others will keep you sane and decrease your chances of resentment, depression and isolation.

 Limit contact with negative, critical people. If people don’t add value, don’t include them in your day.

 Learn. Get educated about your loved one’s disability or illness so that you know how best to support them today and what to expect in the future.

 Take advantage of community services. Numerous community and private services are available, such as adult-care day programs, meal programs, homecare support and respite care for both you and your loved one.

 Know what you can change and what you cannot change. All we can really change is ourselves and how we react to others and to different situations.

Here are some of the “don’ts” :

DON’T

✗ Let guilt overwhelm you. If you can honestly say that, based on the resources available, you are doing the best you can then your feelings of guilt may decrease. And don’t be afraid to say “no.” It is freeing and gives you more control over your life.

✗ Lose hope, hide from grief or be angry. Hope gives us a reason to get out of bed.
It gives us a purpose. Be realistic but positive in your approach. “Anticipatory grief” is the realisation that a part of a loved one is gone forever. Acknowledge it and seek professional help if needed. Don’t let self-pity and resentment control you.

✗ Stop doing what you love. Keep gardening, reading or going to garage sales. Your favourite activities will take you away to your “happy place.” But don’t overindulge. Eating too much (especially unhealthy foods) or using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs excessively will not only affect your health, but also your ability to cope.

✗ Try to be perfect. Don’t fuss if some things slide and don’t feel guilty to let them.

✗ Ignore the signs of carer burnout. If you know you are on the verge of burning out or have actually fallen off the cliff then you need to stop, reassess what’s happening and change what’s not working.

✗ “Wing it.” Successful caring means being organized, planning and being prepared for doctor’s appointments and meetings at the bank, and creating a dynamic schedule that suits both you and your loved one. “Winging it” is a sure-fire way to fail.

 

✗ Think you have control over everything and everyone. Although you will be the decision-maker in many situations, you can’t control the health of your loved one, whether your family will offer support or the expense of care. Being realistic will help you stay grounded.

✗ Expect people to read your mind. Being able to clearly communicate your issues and needs will help others better understand and respond.

✗ Stop being an advocate. Defend your loved one’s rights and needs. Challenge what seems wrong, does not make sense or will not work. You need to your loved one’s voice.

✗ Make your care recipient feel guilty. Regardless of how much time and energy you give to your loved one, don’t play the “guilt game” with them.

✗ Expect your family to pitch in and help. Just because you need and want their help, doesn’t mean you will get it. Life and caring are rarely fair.

✗ Think that caring responsibilities are equally shared within a family. Assume that one person will do the most, while others will give what they are able.

✗ Abuse your loved one. Abuse can be physical, emotional and financial. Know the signs of abuse and how to control your anger. Seek professional help and if you’re resentful or frustrated.

✗ Forget the paperwork. Paying bills, filing annual tax returns and insurance claims, and keeping cards/ driving licenses current can be time-consuming, frustrating and expensive if neglected.

✗ Share everything. Be guarded with what you share with your friends. Understand that most people don’t want to hear or know it all. Giving too much information is not a good thing.

 

Re: Caring for the carer

One of those tips was about being "honest and proud". Your work and efforts matter. Don’t be shy to tell people about the valued work that you do. Be truthful with your family about your caring role, your abilities and how providing care is impacting your life (emotionally, physically and financially).

I want to share some facts about unpaid carers in Australia and some specific to Victoria (sorry if you're not Victorian!).  This shows not only how many of us there are, and who we are but also the value we provide to the economy. 

Re: Caring for the carer

Ahh you are amazing ! @Shaz51 

 

Thank you for sharing this and thank you for attending the other night, you were truely a highlight for our lovely guest that joined us for the night. 

 

Appreciate your support and your voice on here for the carers x 

Amber22

Re: Caring for the carer

Great list @Shaz51 

Thank you for sharing, very timely for me at the moment. 

Re: Caring for the carer

Exercise as often as you can. Try a regular walk around the block or join an aqua-fitness class at your local pool. Ask yourself this difficult question: “How is my health since becoming a carer?” Feed your spirit. Learn and practice stress-reducing techniques such as tai chi, yoga or mindful meditation.

 

Regular cycling makes a significant difference for my Darling (who I support) and myself. I have not been on the bike for over 5 weeks and starting over is proving to be difficult.

Covered just short of 800km in October (was for a charity fundraiser) and it was in hindsight that.was a little much when battling a sinus infection. But it was a challenge raising money for little people fighting a much bigger challenge (children's hospital medical research. 

Anyway that is why I took a spell and it makes a big difference. 

Re: Caring for the carer

Limit contact with negative, critical people. If people don’t add value, don’t include them in your day.

 

This is a hard one, particually when the people you are caring for are the negative and critical centre of life (and that is the illness talking not the ones we love).

Can't walk away from that. Well I can't anyway. 

Re: Caring for the carer

Hi @Shaz51,

Thank you so much for sharing this information! It's the most concise and well thought out list I have ever read around carer support. I have been a carer for two family members for over 20 years (one with a terminal illness and one with a serious mental health issue) and I didn't have the support / didn't know that such support existed in the early years of being a carer.

I'm so glad to see that carers are getting the much needed support, validation and understanding they deserve.

I hope you don't mind if I copy this list and share it in the future.

Big hugs,

FloatingFeather 

Re: Caring for the carer

@Shaz51thanks very much for the list. It's a very informative yet sobering read. Sorry for lateness in reply.

 

I went straight to the "don'ts" knowing I'd have committed numerous items. 2nd one hit me straight away: "don't hide from grief". I've got several. Not just the mandatory "grieving for the life I could've had", but also several matters that arose that affected my loved one and I both, but I cannot bring up for fear of triggering her.

 

I also have no idea if my burnout is to do with caring. I'm consistently tired. But I don't know if it's from working, general lack of exercise, or caring. Hope for reprieve over xmas but not expecting a lot, since I'm expecting to attend to her family events, so no time off just for me.

 

At least I didn't "expect my family to pitch in and help". Expectation of help from anyone has been futile, not expecting that to change.

Illustration of people sitting and standing

New here?

Chat with other people who 'Get it'

with health professionals in the background to make sure everything is safe and supportive.

Register

Have an account?
Login

Further information:

  • Loading...

For urgent assistance