Whether it comes as a surprise or you’ve had some time to prepare for the idea, becoming a caregiver to someone with chronic or terminal illness can be a heavy load to bear. It can be difficult to balance your love and care for this person in your life with the overwhelming emotional and physical toll that being “on-call” for days, weeks, months, and years can take on you.
If you find yourself, or someone you love, in the role of a full-time caregiver, here are a few things to consider about your surroundings, your family, and yourself by Wyoming Storage Units for Rent.
Equip your home with necessary tools
Without going overboard, there are some definite helpful tools that you can invest in to keep your loved one comfortable, save you time and energy, and make your home function in the best possible way.
Depending on your family member’s physical limitations, it might be best to locate them in a central part of the house where they can feel a part of the family and you can keep an eye on and ear out for them–in that case, investing in a hospital bed may be a good idea. This bed can be rolled into different rooms, allows them to sit up or lay down with the press of a button, and has other features that make it easier to care for someone who doesn’t have full mobility.
The bathroom is another area that may need some attention to make it functional for your loved one. Stools, shower chairs and rails, toilet seats, and non-slip mats can all help make the bathroom a safe but private place to go.
In the kitchen, you may need some type of immersion blender or food processor if pureed foods are needed. A medicine cutter can be another helpful tool. Overall, try to accept help with meals from those in your community, and be prepared to make more “convenient” meal choices than you may normally.
Prepare your family
If you have other family members living in your home with you, especially young children, you will need to take time to introduce the idea to them, what will be involved, and what to expect during the time.
The loved one you are caring for may do and say things that hurt, are confusing, or frightening, especially to young children who don’t quite understand what’s going on. There may be smells, sounds, and equipment that looks scary to them. As much as possible, give them opportunities to be around the equipment and the person you are caring for, while being right by their side the entire time.
During this time, plan to spend quality time with your spouse and kids. Planning the time on the calendar will help make sure it happens and will take the burden of remembering to do it off your mind. It can be as simple as a dinner date, ice-cream after school, going to a Saturday movie, or even a family sleepover in your room. You may need to get even more creative if you need to be with your loved one around the clock.
Prepare yourself emotionally and physically
Although we can make the best plans, the truth is that nothing can prepare you for the weariness that may come with being a caregiver. But here are some truths to remember as you enter this season of life:
- Be willing to accept and ask for help from those you are close to.
- Choose what’s best over what’s good–when it comes to how you spend your time, who you make time for, meals you eat, and activities you choose to participate in.
- Schedule and plan for times to be off-duty and have personal time–even if that means investing in hiring someone who can take your place for a few hours.
- Invest in your health through nourishing convenience foods, time to exercise, and sleep above other obligations outside your family’s immediate needs.
- Maintain a personal hobby – whether it be reading, handicrafts, cooking, or music.
- Get outside at least an hour a day, even if it’s just sitting on the porch or taking a walk around the block.
The sacrifices are great in becoming a caregiver, but the rewards and benefits are priceless–getting to spend this time with your loved one and helping them in their time of need can be as special as it is exhausting.
We hope this article has been a helpful start in thinking through this season of your life. If the time comes that this is a reality for you, please give Self Assured Storage a call so we can help make it a stress-free transition with a part-time storage unit that will keep your belongings safe while you make room for another family member. We treat our customers like family and would be honored to be an assistance during this time for you!