Resilience is a characteristic that helps family Carers bounce back from sadness, exhaustion, and difficulty. It can protect them from developing compassion fatigue and burnout when providing care for the elderly loved ones in their lives. Psychologists define resilience as a person’s ability to recover from hardship. Individuals who are resilient do not allow failure to overwhelm them. Psychologists indicate that those who practice resilience are those who have a positive attitude, optimism, and the ability to control their emotions. These individuals are able to pick themselves up from failure or disappointment and find a way to regroup and move on.
The characteristics of resilience can greatly benefit family Carers who are faced with the daily challenges of watching a loved one decline as they play the role of a nurse at home. Try these ten resilience-building practices:
1. Redefine your circumstances.
Providing in home care services for a loved one can be exceedingly difficult. As you watch your loved one decline, emotions can range from exhaustion to stress to grief. You may be the only family member who is available to provide care for your loved one ageing in place in a time of need. You may be someone that has given your loved one a reason to remain hopeful about the future by being their nurse at home and providing in home care services. For these reasons and many others, it helps to find your sense of purpose in a meaningful way for you.
2. Find acceptance. You may not have chosen to be the provider of in home care services or become a family Carer, but the more you accept your role in care for the elderly the better you will feel. However, if you continue to resist the fact that you are providing in home care, you may notice your stress levels rising over time. As you accept your role, you may find that your coping skills will improve as you become more engaged in your role.
3. Adapt your role. Be as flexible as possible and accept that many things may not be done perfectly while you are the nurse at home. Instead, conduct your caregiving duties so that they are completed well enough to serve their purpose. For example, you may not be able to cook several courses as part of your home care services because of time limitations. However, if you can make a nutritious sandwich or cook a healthy soup for the week, that is good enough. Don’t judge yourself. Accept what you can do and give yourself praise for the aged care services you are doing.
4. Maintain your friendships. Healthy relationships will help you reduce stress. Friends and family members are there to support you through difficult times and act as sounding boards for your frustrations in your home care services role.
5. Become a bit rebellious. Live life on your own terms. This may seem counterintuitive if your days are restricted by your loved one’s schedule and need for in home care. However, if you can change the way you think about what is necessary for your life and change your own expectations, you may find it freeing. It’s important to eliminate as many stress-causing factors as possible. These simple steps will help protect you, make you stronger and build resilience as you provide in home care.
6. Be playful and believe in serendipity. Maintaining a light spirit whenever possible will help you guard against stress and illness. Whenever possible laugh and look at things in a lighthearted manner. For example, make light of small accidents like broken dishes because you can always buy new ones. Believing in serendipity means that you can turn a bad situation into one that teaches you a life lesson or gives you a gift.
7. Build a team. Friends, family members, and professional Care Workers can create a team to help you with your in home care responsibilities. You can be the team captain who is responsible for scheduling and coordinating in home care services, agec care services and support. You may be the primary Carer, but delegation is crucial in relieving some of the pressure of daily care for the elderly responsibilities. You should divide responsibilities among team members according to each person’s strengths. Someone may feel more comfortable interacting with insurance companies and medical clinics, while another person is willing to take on the housekeeping and cooking duties part of in home care services.
8. Identify what you need help with most. This may not be as easy as it sounds. For example, do you need someone to mow the lawn or rake the leaves? Can someone run small errands for you like going to the pharmacy, the dry cleaners, and the post office? These are all standard home care services of any home care agency. You may think it’s easier to do all these things yourself, but asking for help will eliminate pressure on you, and remove several things from your daily “To Do” list. When you can reduce the frustration of not being able to do small things for yourself, like picking up your own prescription, you can calm yourself, which in turn builds resilience.
9. Organise your own life. Family Carers have many responsibilities regarding the care for the elderly loved one in their life. As a result, they can forget to pay attention to the details of their own life. It is very important that you schedule a time to tend to your own essential matters, like paying bills and home maintenance. Providing in home care is a long-term journey that takes place over the course of many years. It is important to take care of the details of your own life so that when your in home care responsibilities are over, you have an organised life to return to.
10. Watch for changes in your own physical state. For family Carers, stress becomes normal and that is hazardous to one’s health. Weight gain, sleeplessness, irritability, inability to stick to daily habits and depression are all signs of Carer burnout. Don’t ignore them. If you begin to notice these signs in yourself, address them. It can take years to recover from Carer burnout but you can avoid it while still providing in home care services. Building resilience is the best way to protect your health and care for yourself along the long family Carer journey.
As a family Carer, you are the one who has the opportunity to be with your loved one as they are ageing in place. Acknowledging this as a gift can also help you to build resilience. Developing resilience will serve you well for a lifetime. When your in home care responsibilities have come to an end, you will be transformed by your experience of being a nurse at home. You may be exhausted, but you will be strong and you will find that you carry the gifts of caregiving with you for the rest of your life.
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.