You thought you had it all planned out. You know what to do when you’re running low on adult diapers, food, or medicine. You can handle it when the power goes out or the plumbing acts up. To everyone you know, you’re strong and capable – admirable, even. You put on a smile and deal with the daily struggles in spite of everything. Your spouse depends on it.
There’s just one thing you haven’t thought about. What do you do when you’re ill? How is a caregiver supposed to perform their duties if they can’t move or stand?
To start, there are things you can do to help prevent bugs or infections, including:
- Eating proper meals. Many caregivers are so worn down and stressed, they don’t have the energy to cook for themselves, instead reaching for potato chips, candy, or whatever is quick and nearby. Your body needs vitamins and minerals to stay fit and healthy, so introducing fruits and vegetables to your diet makes a big difference.
- Washing your hands and using sanitizer. It’s easy to forget to do this, but make sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your face or eating. This will help you avoid germs. Wiping down remotes, doorknobs, and phones is also a good idea.
- Getting a full night’s sleep. We know this isn’t easy – sleep (or any kind of rest) is a luxury in the life of a caretaker. Try to climb into bed at a certain time each night and stay there, even if you don’t feel tired.
Working out a backup plan is very important and should be done as soon as possible. Here’s how to prepare:
- Compile a list of your loved one’s medications and when they should be taken. Note their dietary needs, any allergies, and what they can’t take or do with their medications. Doctor’s names, phone numbers, and any appointments should always be included.
- Prepare a network of friends and family who can and will step in when you can’t. Think of yourself as the head of a special care team. Who can you trust to make decisions in your absence about health emergencies, accidents, and more? Who can handle the daily routine, and who might back out at the last minute?
- Connect with a caregiving service. Not only does this give you the power to keep your spouse at home, they’ll receive compassionate care from true professionals.
With some planning and determination, you can be ready to take on whatever comes your way.