Caring for the Caregiver
In addition to caring for a patient, a nursing assistant also needs to support the caregiver. A person who is caring for an ill or dying relative or friend often experiences stress that makes the caregiving job more difficult than it needs to be. Taking care of someone can isolate a person, cutting him or her off from friends and social activities. Other family members may feel that since this person is providing care, they don’t need to, and their visits and offers to help decrease. The caregiver may begin to feel anger at the patient and at their friends and other family members. They may feel depressed. Most importantly, they may feel guilty because they feel these emotions, even though these negative feelings can be completely normal for a caregiver to feel.
When checking on a homebound patient, also ask the caregiver how he or she is doing. Ask about any social activities he or she has been involved with and who from the family has visited or helped with the patient’s care. Ask if the caregiver is taking time to do something nice for him or herself. The following advice could help a caregiver cope:
Schedule time to do something nice for yourself. This might be watching TV, calling a friend, or working on a hobby.
Do light exercise; stay active. If you can get out of the house, go for a walk. If you need to stay in, practice yoga or dance to some music.
Keep in touch with friends via phone calls, email, and social media.
Arrange shifts for relatives or friends to help so that you can take an afternoon or day off for yourself.