People often wonder how to balance all of the aspects of their busy lives. From work responsibilities to family commitments, in our modern world we all have a lot going on! This is especially true for those who are caregivers to an elderly spouse or loved one. In these cases, it is especially important to achieve occupational balance.
Occupational balance can be defined as the individual’s perception of having the right amount of occupations and the right variations between occupations. ‘Occupations’in this sense means anything we spend time doing, not necessarily only work at our job or place of employment. It is more of a holistic term, but is applicable for caregivers. It means that every part of life is connected and affects the whole person.
Achieving this balance is crucial for caregivers, healthcare providers, the elderly, students, and working parents alike. Burnout rate is high and taking steps to prevent it is so important.
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you’ve heard the safety presentation done by the flight attendants: “In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, the panels above your heads will open revealing oxygen masks. Grab your mask and put it on you before assisting anyone else.” It is much the same with caregiving. You must take care of yourself first in order to be a good caregiver to others. We have this talk often with spouses during home assessments. They need to maintain their health in order to be able to passionately assist their loved ones.
Taking time for yourself and addressing your own self-care interests or hobbies are crucial. If you’ve been putting off your own doctor visits or other medical needs, be sure to take care of these important things to preserve your own health.
Practicing mindfulness meditation can also be a great help. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing. During mindfulness, we are not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
What else can caregivers do?
Utilize adult day centers. Most towns will have resource to find your local center.
Bring loved ones for occasional, respite stays at Assisted Living Facilities and Independent Living Facilities.
There are also Caregiver support groups. A simple Google search can help you find one or ask friends and family for a recommendation.
We at Oakley Home Access are here to take some of the burden off of caregivers by providing our home modification services and free home safety assessments. Please visit our showroom located at 322 S. Pier Road in Narragansett, call our office 401-429-3882, or visit our website oakleyhomeaccess.com to learn more.