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Caregiver Tips on How to Have Patience While Caring for Your Patients and Loved Ones

12:00am & Tips and Advice

Sadly, elder abuse is a common global issue, with around 1 in 6 people aged 60 and older experiencing some form of abuse in community settings during the past year, according to the WHO.

In fact, rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 2 in 3 staff members reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year.

This is why it is so important that caregivers take regular breaks and manage their own mental and physical health, as neglecting self-care ultimately harms both the caregivers and patient.

Read on to learn 5 tips for caregivers on how to have patience while caring for your patients and loved ones so that both you and they receive the care that you deserve.

5 Tips That Will Help You Practice Patience as a Caregiver

1. Have Empathy

Part of practicing patience when caring for a patient is putting yourself in their position.

While sometimes you may feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or that your patient or loved one is being particularly difficult, even though you are doing your best to care for them, stop for a second and put yourself in their shoes.

How would you feel if you awoke surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar faces who claim to be your family? What would it feel like to be forced to depend on another person, sacrificing your dignity just to be able to relieve yourself? What would it be like to be bed-bound the majority of the time, unable to walk anywhere alone?

It is okay to feel frustrated or fatigued on the hard days; However, what isn’t okay is allowing these feelings to control your actions and how you treat your patient.

In these moments, it is important to remember why you decided to become a caregiver in the first place. As a caregiver, it is obvious that you have a heart for helping others and most likely possess the desire to make a difference in people’s lives.

Remind yourself of the difference that you are making in this person’s life and how your care is allowing them to live the highest quality of life possible in their condition.

Don’t forget that like you, your patient faces a unique set of struggles in their lives that you can never fully understand. Practice empathy and acknowledge the validity of their struggles, sadness, and frustrations as well.

2. Beware of Your Breaking Point—Take Regular Breaks and Remember to RestCaregiver caring for a elder women

Everyone has a breaking point. However, for both you and your patient’s sake, you shouldn’t have to reach your breaking point in order to finally take a break.

Reaching your breaking point not only puts stress on your own emotional and physical well-being, but it can also cause you to take out your built-up frustrations on your undeserving patient, which is never okay.

Always remember to rest. If you find yourself feeling especially frustrated, agitated, or exhausted when caring for your patient or loved one, this is your sign that it’s time to step away for a moment.

Even just a small break can give you enough time to take a breather, have some coffee, and reframe your mindset—And it might just even prevent you from committing abusive acts on yet another victim of elder abuse.

Don’t become a part of this sad statistic. Treat yourself and others with the love and care that every person deserves.

3. Stop Soloing—Switch Off Shifts with Others 

Being a caregiver already requires you to give so much of your time and energy to others, but being the sole caregiver can leave you feeling too drained and exhausted to even take care of yourself.

Even worse, if you feel like the person you are caring for is completely dependent on you, it can feel like taking time to care for yourself is at their expense, possibly putting their safety and health in danger.

While caregivers are amazing human beings who dedicate their time and energy towards helping others for long, grueling hours at a time, they are not machines that can run constantly without rest. We are all human, and realistically, relying on only one person at all times is unsafe and impractical.

This is why it is vital that there is always someone else who can care for the person, should you not be able to. Getting a neighbor or family member to fill in for you for even just a few hours can give you time to recover and return a renewed and rejuvenated version of yourself.

4. Caregiver and Receiver

It may seem counterintuitive as a caregiver, but taking care of yourself and prioritizing your own mental and physical health actually allows you to better care for others. Being a caregiver is not meant to be at your own expense, sacrificing your personal needs for the sake of others. After all, if you are not at your best, how are you supposed to give others your best?

You know yourself better than anyone else does. Treat yourself the same way you would treat the loved ones that you care for. Listen to your body and don’t push your thoughts and feelings to the side. If something feels off, whether mentally or physically, go get it checked out.

You are a valuable human being with worth and purpose, and just like your patients, you deserve only the best care.

5. Don’t Get Discouraged—Your Care Does Make a Difference

Sometimes when taking care of a person who suffers from a chronic condition or whose health is continuously declining, it is easy to feel discouraged, like you’re not doing enough, or that your care is meaningless and doesn’t make a difference in their lives.

However, these self-deprecating thoughts hold no truth. Every day that you wake up and choose to dedicate all of your energy, love, and passion towards caring for others, you are shining a light into someone’s life.

Don’t beat yourself up for not possessing the power to magically cure your patient or feel guilty that you are human and can’t perform the impossible task of doing everything by yourself.

If anything, you should feel proud of yourself. What you are doing is not easy, and you are doing the best that you can to care for another person.

Take some time to appreciate all of your efforts and take a deep breath. You are a strong, resilient, caring, and capable human being.

You do make a difference.

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The Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation

We are proud to be the very FIRST stairlift company to earn the Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation. It is yet another effort that continues to prove that Acorn Stairlifts is a pioneer in the industry, always striving to stay ahead of the game, and to help our customers by providing the absolute best solution for their needs.

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