carers help gold coast
  • September 30 2022
  • Wellness

Caring for yourself while caring for others

We know that caring for a loved family member or friend can be rewarding, but it also comes with its challenges and can be both physically and emotionally draining. 

As a carer you probably put the needs of others before your own and feel guilty for taking time for yourself, but we want you to know that it’s important to look after your own needs too. After all, if you don’t care for yourself, who will be there for your loved one when you’re sick or exhausted and unable to look after them? 

Here are a few suggestions on things you can do to look after your physical and mental health. 

Physical health

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time, but looking after your physical health isn’t something you should put on the backburner. The most important ways you can look after your physical health are:

  • Eating healthy – Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Exercise – Regularly exercise and stay active.
  • Sleep – It’s recommended that you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day. 

Drinking too much alcohol, taking recreational drugs and smoking can affect your physical health and should be avoided. 

Mental health

Caring for others can affect your mental health. Balancing a busy life and looking after a loved one can be stressful. There are a few things you can do to care for your mental health, including: 

  • Mindfulness and meditation – Practising relaxation techniques and mindfulness can help reduce stress. Breathing and meditation has been shown to improve sleep and can reduce anxiety. As a carer you may be worrying about the future, practising mindfulness allows you to focus on the present moment. 
  • Connect with others – It can be helpful to join a support group or connect with other people who are in a caring role. For some people it’s good to talk with others who have similar experiences. 

There are also specific support groups available to help you understand your loved one’s condition such as Parkinson’s Australia and Alzheimer’s Queensland

  • Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members to help with the care of your loved one when you need some time out. This is especially important if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. 
  • Maintain your friendships – Sometimes, when busy caring for a loved one, you may find yourself spending less time nurturing your own friendships. It’s important to maintain your own life and friendships to stay connected to the outside world and look after your mental health. 
  • Take a break – Respite Care is available if you have limited support from other family members or friends. It’s a chance for you to have a break from your caring role, while knowing your loved one is getting the specialist care they deserve. 

At HillView Care we offer Respite care, ensuring your loved one will be made to feel right at home within either our Ashmore or Merrimac Aged Care homes on the Gold Coast. 

  • Speaking with a professional – If you are experiencing a very high level of stress you don’t have to try and cope alone. Speak with a psychologist or counsellor to help you understand why you’re feeling like this,, and they can give you strategies to help improve your mental health as a carer. 

How do you know if your loved one is ready to move into an aged care home? 

  • Falls, hospitalisations or a deterioration of health.
  • It’s becoming increasingly difficult to complete everyday tasks even with your help.
  • You’re finding it difficult to care for their needs alone.

Residential aged care with HillView Care

As a carer, helping a loved one into aged care living is not always easy. At HillView Care we’re here to help them with the transition and ensure they feel relaxed and comfortable at all times. 

Our premium aged care homes in Merrimac and Ashmore have everything they need including 24/7 nursing care, delicious, healthy meals and beautifully appointed rooms with either a verandah or terrace. 

If you’d like to find out more about HillView Care, book a tour of our facilities or contact us and we’ll get in touch with you.

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