If you have been thinking about taking in a relative to care for them for whatever reason, whether they are ill or need looking after temporarily, sometimes there can be a big pressure on the carer. Growing up in a household where my younger brother was diagnosed with a mental disability just after his first birthday (he’s 30 in April), I’ve seen what looking after a child in that condition can do to a family first hand. It’s incredibly tough on those around. If you have been contemplating taking a family member in so you can care for them, here are some things to make sure you are ready for.
Make Your Home Safe And Accessible
Depending on who you are looking after, you need to make sure your home is suitable to that person’s needs. If you are taking in an elderly relative, you will need to make sure all the mobility equipment is accessible for them and have the correct toilet facilities, such as a Drop Arm Commode. For those that could easily hurt themselves, do a sweep of the house before they move in so you can identify safety risks and items that can be trip hazards.
You Need Breaks
This is an often overlooked aspect of the carer. People in the carer’s role will tell you that it is a 24-hour job, seven days a week. This could very easily lead to burnout in a short space of time, so it is vital that the carer takes breaks. Even something as little as half a day may be enough to give the carer an emotional break. Ideally, a good stretch of time is needed to fully recuperate, like a long weekend or a week. To make this happen, either respite care can be arranged for a short period, or have a trusted relative or friend look after the person in need.
Make Sure You Have Support Too
When you are a carer, it is very easy to stay in that role and forget about yourself. Being stuck in that role can lead to many different emotions, such as resentment or low mood. Depression is a common symptom when being in this role, so it is important to make sure that the support is there for you too. Following on from the point above, having adequate breaks is something that can shift the dynamic. Sometimes something as simple as having a relaxing social outing with friends helps to alleviate some of the stress. Not forgetting, there are support groups for carers, so going along to a meeting of like-minded people will remind you that you are not alone in this. The feelings you are experiencing are felt by many others.
You Can Be Entitled To Certain Allowances
If you are a full-time carer, you are entitled to financial support. Enquire what support you can get, whether you can get help to modify your home to suit the person being cared for. Or getting a disabled badge for the car to make for easier parking, there is help available.