At some point in our life, we are faced with a situation where we need to take care of a loved one who is ill. The patient could have a health problem or an accident or a disease; with a severity ranging from mild to something serious. In any case, we need to jump in and take control of things until they can get back on their feet. From some such caregiving experiences, I learnt some things. Today I want to share some ideas that can make the task of caring a little manageable.
Firstly, do not let your emotions get the better of you. Be strong. Your mental strength can contribute to or deplete your energy levels. Don’t waste time pondering about why the accident occurred or why it happened to your loved ones. Instead, keep focused on what needs to be done to improve their condition. Have trust and confidence in God. His blessing will heal the sick.
In most cases, it will be difficult to keep your life and work on hold to take care of someone else. At times, your frustration or irritation can get the better of you and create a bitter experience for the patient. Take all the help you can get from others wherever it is extended. Do not be too proud to take aid. This will help in overcoming the strain it puts on your health and time. This will go a long way in keeping you sane.
Carefully and precisely follow the doctor’s advice, down to the T. It is essential to carefully file all prescriptions, test results and reports that the doctor gives you. These things could get misplaced easily. In western countries, the doctor’s office might maintain the patient’s files. I would advise you to record all your doctor’s suggestions and advice, just in case you might forget. Discuss with the doctor about the diet and the dos and don’ts.
Generally, doctors give some specific instructions for each medicine based on mealtime or dosage. Keeping this in mind, have three boxes and label them as ‘morning/afternoon/night’ or ‘breakfast/lunch/dinner’. Arrange the medicines into these boxes accordingly. This will make the task a lot easier and you don’t have to recollect the instructions every time. Moreover, the chances of errors get reduced. In some countries, healthcare professionals offer this service for a small charge, so you can avail them based your the affordability. It saves time and effort in the overall process.
Diet for the patient needs special attention. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney problem etc require a restricted diet. Certain foods should be avoided in each of these conditions. Discuss food restrictions with your doctor at the get-go. Keeping an inventory of items available in the pantry and refrigerator will prove to be handy while cooking and shopping. I would suggest keeping a list of food items to be avoided as well. In case of injury care, it is prudent to keep a separate inventory of dressing material, antiseptic lotions, pain relievers etc in a special box. It saves time and energy in going for things each day.
A quick tip that I found helpful at times is to keep a bottle of water or juice and a healthy snack on your bedside table. It helps when hunger strikes at all odd hours.
Another helpful tip is to always keep a baby monitor in the patient’s room so that you can monitor them. Keeping their room clean and airy also helps; fresh air improves the mood of the patient.
Be mindful of the patient’s mental state. They might say hurtful things or behave rudely. We need to remember, its just the struggle with the pain that is driving them. Be patient with them.
Through this process of caring for the patient, most people forget about themselves. When you are the primary caregiver, you need energy and rest too. Eat well and if possible, get some rest. Keep in touch with your other friends and relatives to keep your mind fresh and active; take a break from the stress.
Celebrate progress and improvement, however small it is. This will work as a morale booster to motivate the patient and yourself.
These are some things that I felt I could share with all of you. There might be many more tips that I am not aware of and did not mention. Please feel free to express your opinion in the comments section and let us know. Have a blessed day! And if you have a sick person at home, my prayers are for their recovery.