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Deciding to take on the job of caring for anyone, especially someone you are close to, is not something which anyone should take lightly.

Initially, you probably only need to provide assistance rather than total care but eventually, that situation is likely to progress. It may be a gradual transition from helping with the housework and shopping to a loved one needing you more and more until you find yourself providing 24-hour care.

Unfortunately, as people age, they often become increasingly irritable and difficult to reason with. This often due to the frustration that their bodies can no longer function as well as they had previously or painful ailments which are also causing tiredness and bad temper.

Therefore, however much you adore and want to help your loved one, there are bound to be occasions when your patience will be sorely tested and your close relationship could well suffer. This is a serious factor which should be taken into consideration before committing to high input care.

If you have thoroughly thought through all other options and are sure that full-time care is something that you want to provide then there are five absolutely essential things that you must organise and adhere to if you are to survive the constant pressure that caring can become.

  1. BREAKS

You need to be able to take regular breaks – not just for the odd ten minutes so that you can drink a lukewarm mug of coffee. Real respite is necessary to avoid you driving yourself into the ground because no-one can work round the clock without an impact on their health.

  1. HELP
  • Get help from the authorities because they are the ones who can provide access to helpful facilities. Seek out Carers UK, your GP practice and Social Services. It may be that you can get some assistance with respite, some of the household tasks and even nursing care.
  • Accept help from others whether it’s a neighbour who offers to sit in for a couple of hours or family members who can relieve you for overnight breaks. Whenever anyone offers help, always accept it and find tasks that they can do to support you.
  1. TALK TO OTHERS
  • Talk to people if you do begin to feel overwhelmed. You are not complaining and whingeing
  • If you don’t have anyone close that you can talk to then get in touch with a counsellor who will listen to you, allow you to vent if you feel anger and then help you to deal with your feelings of frustration or rage.
  1. INDEPENDENCE

Let your loved one continue to do things for themselves for as long as they are able. It’s important that you resist any action that will compromise their independence and functionality. This will help to ensure that you retain your loving relationship with each other.

  1. PLAN AHEAD

There may well come a time when you have to accept that you can no longer continue alone caring for someone, either in their home or in yours. The most logical option in this scenario would be to consider additional support at home from a professional or a move to an assisted living facility where medical care can be available. If possible this should be discussed ahead of time so that your charge can take part in any major decisions.

If you take care of yourself alongside of taking care of your loved one you are more likely to be able to deal with even the most trying situations. Should the time come when your loved one requires more help than you are able to provide, you will be absolutely assured that you have provided the best care you possibly could, for as long as you were able.