Feros Care’s Jo Cook shares her top 10 tips on how carers can look after themselves
As a carer it can be easy to focus just on your loved one. However, it’s essential that you allow yourself to have guilt-free time where you recharge your batteries. Feros Care’s Lifestyles Partnership Manager Jo Cooke also cares for her mum and has shared her top 10 tips on how carers can look after themselves.
1 Watch your health
Make sure you keep on top of your own health. Try to attend regular appointments with your GP including the important annual visits such as mammograms, prostate checks and bowel cancer screenings.
2 Make meals easy
It’s a carer’s reality that sometimes a quick meal is the only option. Stock up on good quality frozen meals or try pre-cooking and freezing meals. If you have the budget for it, consider having meals delivered or buy a weekly, healthy take-away meal.
3 Get in some exercise
Try to make sure you get in some daily exercise. This can simply be walking around your backyard or neighbourhood block. It’s also an opportunity to get some sunshine and vitamin D.
4 Treat yourself daily
Try to make sure you do one thing a day which makes you feel good. This can be anything from watching your favourite TV show, reading or tending to a hobby.
5 Get enough sleep
Don’t deprive yourself of a good nightly sleep, or if you’re tired and can fit in a nap, do it! A lot of carers have broken or light sleeps because they worry about their loved one, however Feros Care’s LifeLink service has a solution to help with this – the pillow shaker. It can be connected to a mattress or floor sensor and will vibrate to alert you when the other person rises out of bed.
6 Get out regularly
Try to make time to get out of the house by yourself and use it do what you want; catch up with friends, go to the movies or simply tend to your own errands.
7 Get help
Consider contacting a community aged care provider such as Feros Care to get help around the house. This can include domestic cleaning through to personal grooming. It’ll help free your time and allow you to do other things with your loved one.
Try to spend some time relaxing everyday, whether it’s deep breathing for 10 minutes, doing a yoga DVD or sitting in the backyard quietly. You might also want to consider Feros Care’s smart home technology which helps monitor the house for wandering episodes or falls, easing your anxiety.
9 Spend quality time together
Make sure you do activities together which are enjoyable, such as going out to lunch, visiting friends or taking walks. It will help your relationship maintain a personal touch and avoid your relationship becoming just about caring.
10 Seek respite
It’s important that you consider accessing respite care, which can be recuperating for both you and your loved one. Private or funded respite is available in residential villages (Feros Care’s villages are in Byron Bay, Bangalow and Kingscliff), your own home or might even be accessible as a couple on holiday (a carer relieves you while you can relax and enjoy an activity of your choice).
Feros Care has an experienced Aged Care Advisory Team which will provide free and friendly assistance to seniors and carers. Call 1300 763 583 regarding your aged and community care questions.