Caregiving for disabled people is not easy work and it can be very tiresome and stressful, both mentally and physically. As a caregiver, you need to know which words to use around them and how to embark upon your caregiving journey with an open mind.
Here are simple and helpful tips that will help you stay happy and healthy while offering your services:
1. Don’t Take Things Personally
Sometimes the person you are taking care of is depressed and he or she might suffer from mood swings. Try to realize that this is just because they are suffering physically, mentally or emotionally – It is not that they do not appreciate your helpful support. Don’t make it your mission to compete with them as this will only make you frustrated and depressed.
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” –Herm Albright
2. Try Not to Show Them that you Feel Sorry for Them
It is natural for humans to feel sorry for people who are disabled, but how we express it matters a lot. Most disabled people don’t like people feeling sorry for them because they view it as pity and this contributes to them feeling powerless. Show your concern and love, but never give them the sorry or pity look.
3. Be Patient and Positive Whilst Caregiving for Disabled
When being a caregiver for disabled, you should know that handling disabled people needs patience. Don’t expect them to do things the way you want right away, try to give them time as they learn to do what you want them to do.
Try to be positive when dealing with your care recipient. As Dana Reeve, actress, wife of Christopher Reeve and activist for disability causes says, “Be brave. Be open-minded. Be kind. Be forgiving. Be generous. Be optimistic. Be grateful for the many unexpected lessons you will learn. Find the joy inside the hardship. It’s there. I assure you. And, too, be open to inspiration from unlikely sources.
4. Use the Correct Lifting Procedure to Prevent Injury
When lifting the disabled, always use the correct posture to prevent injury. Where possible, invest in the latest lifting machines or tools to aid you.
Here are some great lifting techniques to help you when caregiving for disabled:
- Keep the proper alignment of your head and neck with your spine.
- When lifting, don’t bend at your waist. Instead, use the strength in your legs to lift or pull.
- Try to never twist your body when carrying a person.
- Hold the patient who is being moved close to your body.
- Keep your balance by allowing enough distance between your feet to support the weight.
Exercising is the best way to relieve stress and build up body strength and stamina to help you when caregiving for disabled people. Building up a sweat whilst exercising is also a great cleanser before you start working. It also releases endorphins, which help you keep a positive outlook. Regular exercise helps keep you alert which is essential for good decision making.
6. Find a “Me” Time
Being a caregiver for disabled people doesn’t mean that you don’t have a life. After a long tiring day, you need to find time to concentrate on yourself. Do things which make you happy and relaxed like watching TV, doing yoga or maybe taking a warm bath.
7. Give Yourself a Break
Don’t work long hours without taking a break. Depending on your personality type you may either need time alone or time with friends to unwind and re-energize. At some point, you will need to build a private support network so you can share your concerns or joys with your friends. Begin by making a list of people to call for assistance whenever you need to rest. Do not let your work interfere with your personal relationships. Go to movies with your friends and have a good time, it will clear your mind.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is very important and you should always find time to allow your body to rest. Lack of sufficient sleep interferes with how the brain works and can also lead to serious diseases and complications.
A recent University of Texas study of 51 caregivers of terminally ill family members found a clear correlation between lack of sleep and severe depression.
“A caregiver’s sleep levels were the best predictor of caregiver depression levels,” says the study’s lead author, Patricia Carter of the UT School of Nursing in Austin.
Check out these great tips for getting back to sleep after interruptions.
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