There are people who have decided to devote their lives to taking care of people who are bedridden. These people are professional caregivers… but there is also the common person that ends up being a caregiver to a loved one due to age or illness.
Care giving is such a difficult task that even professionals, at one point or another, feel insecure and wonder if they are doing the right thing. If this is so, imagine how the common person can feel when presented with the task of taking care of another person’s necessities 24/7.
Eventually almost all caregivers, professionals or not, end up asking themselves why it is that they are doing what they are doing, and the time comes to put things in perspective.
Here are 3 good pieces of advice to help you cope with becoming a caregiver:
1. Surround yourself with successful caregivers
In business, they teach you that if you want to be successful you should surround yourself with successful people, well… this applies to care giving too.
There are support and educational groups for caregivers, where you can get training, information, ideas, and tips from caring people who understand what you’re going through.
You can research support programs and agencies that specialize in bedridden care. The key is to surround yourself with professionals that can help you manage your feelings and needs.
2. Gain confidence in yourself
And how do you do that? Well… By educating yourself on what you are doing.
If you’re caring for an Alzheimer’s patient you have to know how this disease is diagnosed and treated, and the same goes for caring for a person who has had a serious accident that has left him/her paralyzed. Both patients are bedridden, but their conditions are very different and so, require different care.
There are many way to get educated:
- You can find national organizations that relate to your loved one’s condition. These will have accurate information about that specific condition and about local programs related to it.
- You can search the Internet, but be careful and make sure you find reliable sources.
- You can go to a research hospital. Find out if that institution can give you relevant information on new treatments and if they happen to be working with patients such as yours.
A big part of gaining confidence in one’s ability, no matter what you do, is to pretend you’re confident. It has been proven that when you pretend you’re confident, after a while you become sure of yourself.
Tell yourself, again and again, that you are doing it right. Look in the mirror and repeat out loud, “You know what you’re doing, and you’re doing great”. You can repeat any encouraging phrase that resonates with you.
3. Use positive affirmations
Most caregivers at one point ask themselves why they are doing what they’re doing. When this time comes, it is important that you remind yourself why you’re changing diapers, adjusting a bariatric mattress, and bathing and feeding a bedridden person.
We recommend you make a sign that reads, “I love my wife/son/grandfather/mother/father/daughter” and put it where you can see it regularly.
Is bathing the person the hardest part? Then put the sign in the bathroom.
Is it cleaning his/her bedsores? Then put the sign in front of the medicine cabinet so that you can read it every time you go get the medication.
Is it moving the person regularly to make sure the skin remains healthy? Well… a pressure mattress can free you from this burden; just get the right one!
Just remind yourself every day that you deeply love that person that needs you so much now. It may work to place an old picture of your loved one or the family smiling near your bed … love brings about miracles, and after all, what better care can your loved one receive than in-home care?
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