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Managing Yourself as a Caregiver for the Elderly

As a caregiver, you must:

  1. Take care of yourself physically, mentally and socially.

  2. Get assistance from care:

    • know your limit

    • join support groups for caregivers

    • get time off from care (respite care)

  3. Involve all family members in care. ManagE:

    • time by giving attention to the problems in order of importance

    • the involvement of others for the care

    • mental stress

    • daily activities

In panning a successful care for the elderly, the caregiver must:

  • continue having a social life

  • get sufficient financial supporti

  • ensure physical environment that facilitates care

  • maintain good health through exercise, balanced nutrition, rest and, sleep)

  • get sufficient time to rest such as getting respite care

Challenges that the caregivers faced in providing care for the elderly:

  • time management (time for self)

  • handling the whims of person cared for

  • testing of perseverance and patience

  • mental stress

  • take over the responsibility and decision-making

  • fatigue, weakness and burn-out

  • financial problems

Overcoming the challenges:

  • know your limit

  • acceptance of the situation

  • realistic and appropriate daily time plan

  • take time for yourself

  • financial management

  • religious practices to facilitate spiritual strength

  • adaptation to new changes in lifestyle

  • exercise, balanced diet and rest

  • include those who are looked after in decision-making

  • seek counseling or advice

Coping with mental stress

  1. Cause:

    • Increasing need for care of the elderly

    • Facing whims of people cared for

    • Poor health care conditions of caregiver

    • Financial problems

    • Unforeseen future

    • Family conflict

    • Unable to accept the disease

    • loss of income, friends, etc.

  2. Signs of stress:

    • Irritability, anxiety

    • Substance abuse (alcohol, cigarette and drugs)

    • Loss or gain in weight

    • Sleep disturbances

  3. Action:

    • Take periodical breaks in order to rest

    • Take a holiday with your family

    • Get temporary respite care

    • Do not isolate yourself

    • Contact friends or relatives

    • Share problems with others

    • Do not blame yourself

    • Increase spiritual or religious practices

    • Create a cheerful environment to ease care

    • Engage in preferred activities

    • Handle the problems one-by-one

The rights of caregivers

  • To seek satisfaction from life (social life, etc.)

  • To seek help and support from family and community

  • To get the best and complete treatment

  • To be appreciated for sacrifices made

The implications of care

  • Any caregiver will face moments of grief and loss

  • Changes in daily life

  • Relationships between caregivers and people cared for

  • Changes in roles and career sacrifices

The role of caregivers

  • Understanding and be able to meet the needs of people cared for

  • As a friend, protector and defender

  • Provide direct-care

Conclusion

It is the duty of every individual to protect and care for elderly family members in gratitide for the love and care they have given us throughout their lifetime.

Last Review : 30 May 2012
Writer : Dr. Sanidah binti Md. Ali
Reviewed : Dr. Fauziah binti Zainal Ehsan