Caring for a loved one who has a disability or illness can be a rewarding and positive experience. However, it can also be an exhausting, thankless task, with ongoing demands potentially leading to frustration and feelings of fatigue, stress, anxiety and guilt. Know that you are not alone. Support and resources are available to help you. Here are some ideas:
- take regular time out (known as ‘respite’) to do things you enjoy and to socialise
- get some help in the home with subsidised services
- talk to others about how you feel, and ask for help when it’s needed
- seek professional help, such as counselling or joining a carers’ support group
- be reasonable about what you can – and cannot – do
- make a list prioritising and organising what you need to do
- look out for signs that you’re becoming stressed and plan what to do if this happens
- understand your legal and financial rights as a carer
- realise that you are doing your best, and go easy on yourself if you are having a bad day.
For more ways to care for yourself, visit WebMD. While these resources may help you to take action on some of the above ideas:
- My Aged Care– information and services for home carers
- Carers Australia – support for carers
- Lifeline – provides tools and counselling
- Centrelink – government payments and programs for carers
Know that there is no shame in reaching out for help. Seeking the help you need will benefit both you and the person in your care.
Are you are carer? If so, do you have any ideas to share? What do you find the most challenging and/or helpful?