How to Overcome these 5 Common Caregiving Challenges
Whether you are a family caregiver or an in-home caregiver, you understand that providing care for some requires a vast skill set. A caregiver is a friend, provider, healer, assistant, and nurturer all in one. Tasks range from doing household chores to running errands to administering medication. There is a lot to juggle, even on the best days!
At its heart, caregiving is a rewarding experience. Many people providing in-home care services refer to caregiving as a vocation, as something they have been called to do. Caregiving is a personally intimate field of work. Caregivers become close not only to their clients but also with the family members and loved ones of their clients. Caring for other people can be challenging and yet it is so important that people receive the best quality of care they deserve.
5 Common Caregiving Challenges
All caregivers face challenges when providing in-home care services. The key is to move through them with grace and empathy, and to rely on support whenever it is needed. Here are five of the most common caregiving challenges and the steps caregivers can take to overcome them.
1. Feeling Overwhelmed
This is perhaps the number one challenge caregivers face on a day-to-day basis, especially for family caregivers. It may seem intuitive to take on everything yourself because you want to give everything you can to your family member or client, but it is important to remember that caregivers need support too. A remedy for family caregivers is to hire an in-home caregiver, even if it is just for part-time help. Having the extra support will allow family caregivers to get the rest they need so they can focus on providing quality care.
A remedy for in-home caregivers is to reach out to their in-home care agency for support. A reputable agency will be able to provide advice, resources, and tools that help relieve caregiver stress. Remember to focus on quality over quantity and see if there are caregiving tasks that can be refocused.
2. Unfamiliarity with a Health Condition
Even the most experienced caregivers can come across a health condition that is outside of their knowledge base. This is one of the reasons why Alegre Home Care provides monthly learning sessions and educational opportunities to its caregiving staff. In-home caregivers are encouraged to attend webinars and receive training about the types of health conditions clients may have. Caregivers can always reach out to their in-home care agency for resources and, when possible, connect with their client’s doctors to find out more information about particular illnesses.
Many caregivers find that they quickly learn how to provide quality care for their clients even when they have not previously encountered a certain health condition. Continual learning and training is a normal part of the job for any caregiver. With the right skills and experience, in-home caregivers can be prepared for all types of conditions and situations.
3. Difficult Emotions
Providing quality in-home care services requires intimate and emotional work. People receiving care are in vulnerable positions and place their trust literally in the hands of their caregivers. This kind of responsibility, as well as dealing with difficult topics such as disabilities and hospice, often brings up difficult emotions for caregivers. Emotions such as frustration, grief, sadness, and anxiety are not uncommon. Even empathy can be a difficult emotion to process when it leads to compassion fatigue. Caregivers are encouraged to practice self-care methods such as journaling and meditation in order to cope, as well as utilize professional services such as counselling. Sometimes caregivers need some caregiving, too!
4. Physical Strain
Oftentimes, caregivers become so focused on providing care for loved ones or clients that they forget to take care of themselves. Simple things like proper posture can easily get overlooked. Some caregivers have tasks that include lifting, standing for long periods of time, or going up and down flights of stairs. It is important to take short breaks throughout a shift in order to rest and stretch. Caregivers will also benefit from strength training, gentle cardio, stretching practices such as yoga, and learning how to lift and transport clients safely.
5. Taking Things Personally
Caregivers have big hearts and it is normal to want to be liked by clients. That’s definitely a worthy goal! However, some clients are very set in their ways and are not interested in making a new “friend”. There are also clients who may have irritable behaviors due to conditions like dementia. It can be easy to take things personally if a client, or a family member, is yelling at you and blaming you for things that are not your fault. Caregiving requires a soft heart but tough skin — which isn’t easy to achieve!
When situations like this arise, it helps to focus on the caregiving tasks and providing the best services possible. For example, if a client is picky about food, a caregiver can still focus on making the meal amazing. Many clients, even ones with the most difficult behaviors, eventually come around. It also helps to remember why you started caregiving in the first place; not to have an easy job but to provide high quality care to those who need it the most.
Caregivers help people live their best lives, and that is always something to smile about.
Do You or a Loved Need In-Home Care Services?
Alegre Home Care has been providing high quality elder care and caregiving services for over 25 years. Receiving care at home begins with a phone call and a free consultation. We provide what’s best for you — Alegre Home Care can help you from as little as a 1.5 hour visit, to 24 hour care or even full time live-in care services.
Give us a call to start receiving care: (800) 598-4777