There are special dynamics involved in the caring experience, whether you are caring for a sick or disabled child, your spouse, parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, or client. Caring for your loved one in any respect is an honorable and important role—in fact, it may be one of the most important roles you experience in life. However, it has been noted that as a caregiver you are more likely to let go of your interests, experience stress at work, neglect your physical and emotional health, and decrease interactions with your social each of which can negatively impact your health and wellness over time. Therefore, it is so important that as a caregiver you are empowered and recognize the honor in asking for help. In fact, empowerment is a significant force that can aide you with finding workable solutions to manage the pressures relating to work, family, home, self-care, and caregiving.
Caregiver Wellness: U Model
Empowerment is a key component of the Caregiver Wellness: U Model a conceptual model, that incorporates the movement toward social, psychological, physical, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, and financial wellness among caregivers, while also incorporating the empowerment and resilience necessary to take charge of one’s health on a holistic basis.
What does it mean to be Empowered?
According to the Caregiver Wellness: U Model you are empowered when you fully engage in and execute healthy behaviors to improve your caregiving situation. In fact, once you are empowered you are better able to assist your loved one live life with greater fulfillment, you are more likely to take self-responsibility for your health and wellness, in addition to the well-being of your loved one.
Are you empowered?
Please take this opportunity to evaluate your level empowerment. There are five statements; consider each statement openly and honestly. Assign two points (2) if you agree with the statement, one point (1) if you somewhat agree, and do not assign any points (0) if you do not agree with the statement.
When problems arise with my loved one, I handle them well.
I feel that I do a good job caring for my loved one.
I am pleased with the decisions I make regarding the services my loved one needs.
When necessary, I take the initiative in looking for services for myself and my loved one.
I can apply what I learn improve my personal care and the care of my loved one.
Evaluate your empowerment score
A score of 7 or higher may indicate that you are an empowered caregiver.
A score between 4 and 6 may indicate that you are somewhat empowered.
A score between 0 and 3 may indicate that you might want to reach out for help.
Four Tips to Empower you as a Caregiver
The following are four tips to empower you as a caregiver:
Develop a Plan. Developing a plan for the care of your loved one is vitally important to your success and longevity. Once developed your plan can serve as a guide as you care for both you and your loved one. Please visit Caregiver Support Services and follow the 5 steps to create you Caregiver Support Action Plan.
Ask for help. Asking for help is a testimony to your inner strength, in fact there is honor in asking for help®. It is important to consider that as a caregiver you have indeed humbled yourself to provide support and care for your sick or disabled loved one. You did not hesitate to act when your loved one was in need so why should things change now, that your focus for care is yourself? Asking for and accepting help is honorable, so reach out to get the help you need. You might consider accessing Comprehensive Resources and Guides to identify resources that will help you with your caregiving situation.
Recognize that there is meaning in everything you have done to this point. It is important to recognize that the many skills acquired while caring for a loved one. There is meaning and purpose behind everything you have experienced to this point. It is certainly not by mistake that you have experienced all that you have. Take time to reflect about how the skills you have used to care for your loved one. Perhaps you are good at organizing, communicating with healthcare providers, or maybe you are an advocate in the making. Recognize the skills and abilities you use in caregiving and apply them to improve the care of you and your loved one.
Take time to do things outside your role as a caregiver. If you do not take time away from what you do as a caregiver, then you are likely to experience burnout. Most caregivers have had interests prior to caregiving and should continue having interests outside the role as a caregiver. Take time for personal interests because time will not make itself. Go to the movies or have lunch with a friend, reach out by calling someone with whom you have not spoken in a while, send an e-mail, or write a card.
No caregiving situation is better than another; however, when you are empowered you greatly improve your ability to provide care over a longer period.