No matter their age or needs, most people want the ability and freedom to do what they want. Independence becomes more treasured when a person becomes sick, immobile or forgetful. Switching roles, you may feel that you sacrificed your independence when you became a caregiver to your loved one. It is important to do activities that simultaneously promote the independence of your loved one and yourself. As you continue your dynamic relationship with your love one, you can build a level of co-independence that will be rewarding to both of you.
Start on the Right Foot
When your loved one needs high-intensity care, your relationship can easily become codependent. This is especially common for first- time caregivers after a loved one’s serious health incident. If prolonged attention is needed, consider getting professional help. However, if their prognosis is for a slow but steady recovery, include them on education from nurses or hospitals that will help them to care for themselves.
Online family education programs like the Family Learning Center from SYNERGY HomeCare are available at no cost to you, and will help you and your loved one adjust to an independent caregiving relationship.
Follow these directions to the family learning center:
- Select the button “Education for You and Your Family”
- Select “Families” under “Family Caregivers”
- Enter the public access username: synergyfamily
- Enter the public access password: synergyfamilycare
Is your loved one recovering from injury or surgery? Are they reaching new milestones with physical therapy? Is each doctor appointment going better than the last? Keep track of their progress by keeping a journal or drawing a chart. When they achieve their goals, celebrate and make new goals. This will encourage both of your along the path to recovery.
Make a “Care Station”
When you have to be away, and your loved one needs something- they may feel stuck, which can be discouraging. Use a small table or drawer to house essential items that your loved one may need while you are gone or unavailable.
Schedule Time Away
If your loved one feels anxious without you at home, you may feel the pull to only leave when necessary. However, you do need time to socialize or run errands or even take a hike. Try being away at a scheduled time each day per week. This will help your loved one feel in control of the time you are away. You can also build up the time you are gone. Showing your loved one that they can take care of themselves for half an hour and then an hour will make them feel good about taking care of themself.
Share the Load
Just because your loved one needs help doesn’t mean they can’t do anything. It may be your job to help them around the house and make meals, but that doesn’t mean you have to exclude your loved one from contributing to the home. Keeping your loved one from helping may also make them feel worthless or that they don’t matter. You may need to do the majority of household tasks, but you may be able to delegate small (but important) tasks to your loved one.
Independence is very important for your and you’re the person in your care. If you have any questions about respite care or home care, please contact your nearest SYNERGY HomeCare location today.