Giving care to senior people is a noble profession. It helps families give this vulnerable population a decent life. The disabled and mentally disturbed people also need care.
However, giving care is not a rosy profession. Caregiver tasks can be overwhelming to the in-home care provider. Widespread cases of depression, stress, and disillusionment among caregivers have prompted a campaign on caring for the caregivers. The person giving care must confront the dangers that threaten their mental health and emotional well being.
These issues make the profession endangered.
Trying To Make Your Clients Comfortable To Your Detriment
The desire to make the client comfortable can often overwhelm you. Clients do not often reciprocate the comfort you extend. The person may not be in a position to notice what you are doing to make them comfortable. A ‘thankless’ job can easily be demoralizing. A caregiver must ensure that they are comfortable in whatever they do.
You Often Have No Idea of What You Are Dealing With
When you decide to become a caregiver, goodness and the desire to help is your forte. You are always looking for ways and means to make people better. When dealing with seniors, you have no idea how many things they need.
They need a shoulder to cry on, they have failing memory, they can get irritable any moment, their bodies are failing them, and some have not accepted that age is catching up with them. There is a lot that you can do. Some you can only try. It pays to knows that your specialty is giving care; leave the rest to others.
They say you should not violate your set boundaries; however, most people do so when faced with the slightest tinge of guilt. Caregiver tasks require fidelity to the care plan. If you go beyond and above the call of duty today, you rob yourself the energy to deliver on your mandate tomorrow. Spending the whole night handling client’s petty concerns will deny you a productive day tomorrow.
Accept today’s guilt so that you can remain helpful and productive throughout your career. However, be careful not to slide into indifference. If something is a worthy sacrifice, it is human to extend service up to a reasonable level.
To overcome these issues, you must mark your limits carefully and decisively. Every professional in the healthcare industry must have these professional boundaries.
It is never an easy task to delimit yourself. However, research shows that without setting professional limits, you will have many challenges. You will experience some of these unwanted problems. Refrain from starting a personal relationship when you are a senior caregiver.
You must separate your professional and personal relationship. It is natural to see the senior citizen as your parent or kin, but it is not. Boundaries in senior care can help you avoid conflicts with your family members or the client’s kin.
Your body can only go so far. Being a professional requires a balance between your work and life. You function as a senior caregiver, a parent, spouse, and many others. You have to give your job a professional effort.
The times when you could be on call 24/7 are long gone unless you want to risk burning out. Optimal job performance rarely exceeds 60 hours a week. If your job is taking more than that, it is eating into your personal space.
Stress and depression
Worrying about your client’s well-being is a natural consequence of your role as a caregiver. That primal instinct requires balance. If you provide care to several people, you cannot competently keep their struggles in your mind without risking your mental health.
Now that you know it is important to set boundaries, you need to know how to establish those boundaries. Here is how to do that.
Tell Yourself No First
It can come out rude if said aloud, so, make a habit of saying no to yourself. If someone comes up with a proposal of any kind that cuts between professional or personal, consider a NO first. From that position, you can now look for reasons to say yes.
If you are the only one in a position to help, you can try. If you can refer the case, please do. Let family members deal with personal issues.
Sometimes your no can be a blessing to the person. Taking a task when you are not up to it can mean you will give it a poor effort. That person will think that you helped, but you did not.
Work On Your Communication
Senior caregivers listen, inquire, and act based on the information. Your voice is equally important, especially when setting a limit. Let everyone know how much you are willing to invest emotionally, mentally, physically, or even psychologically.
Some patients will want to bring you into their family. Refuse to enter in personal spaces that put you in between family feuds. Families have a way of recovering from arguments and disagreements. Let everyone know what you can do for him or her.
Understand What You Are Dealing With
Every client file will come with its fair share of baggage. Knowing what you are up against is the first step of arming yourself for the ride. Understand the health conditions deeply. Do not just do shallow online searches; you will deal with the intricacies of care in a way that you never imagined.
If the patient has Alzheimer’s, understand the condition deeply. Long term care for such a patient requires in-depth knowledge of what to expect when dealing with such a person. Knowledge helps you set realistic targets and expectations.
Look For Help
Even the helper needs help sometimes. Whether you are a senior care or in-home care provider, you will find the going tough. You will occasionally need to take breaks. Do not be shy to request an extra hand where possible. Job strain is common in any working environment, but once it starts bogging you down, you better have another person lend a hand, even if on a temporary basis.
Create Your Time
You have a life that you must enjoy. Your family needs you. You have relationships to nurture. You have friends to make. There are films or events that you can enjoy out there. Do not let your workplace be your life. It will soon be a boring place to be if you do that, and that will surely demoralize you.
You should have a clear contract with your employer that has specific obligations. Anything that is not in the contract should be mutual and to your benefit, not detriment. If the long term care for a patient requires extra supervision, let the care plan match the returns.
Caregiving relies on the quality of the client-caregiver relationship. Keeping it formal and structured goes a long way in strengthening the caregiver’s mental, social, and emotional well being.