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Natural helper: kindness towards the other...and oneself!

Wikipedia describes a caregiver as a person who lives and acts in the immediate vicinity of a person who is ill, suffering or losing his or her autonomy. The caregiver may be a family member, friend, spouse, group, or key person who is actively designated by the ill person as a support person. They are not considered a health care professional by the medical profession, yet they are connected to and involved in the person's experience of the illness. In practice, we could call natural caregivers "hearts on two legs" because their devotion is so great! But how do you take care of a sick loved one without becoming exhausted?

Here are 10 tips for taking care of a loved one and yourself!

1. Ask for help

If you start to feel tired, exhausted or just want to not be alone in this difficult situation, never hesitate to ask for help. The neighbor, the best friend, other family members, etc. There will always be others to help you. Remember, you don't have to be alone.

2. Give yourself a break

It's important to find a break or two in a week. Caring for someone who is ill is more than a full-time job; it's 24/7. You must not forget yourself in this. Our advice is, at least once a week, to find a trusted person to replace you at a fixed time, which will allow you to plan an outing or simply relax by reading a good book.

To find out about respite resources, you can always call Info-Aidants at 1-855-852-7784. Also, don't forget that there are companies that offer a paid daycare service. For example, Confort Élite offers support and respite services for home care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

3. Set your boundaries

If you are ever uncomfortable with a task, don't force yourself. You should always be comfortable with what you are doing to help your loved ones. If hygiene-related care is your limit, which may be quite understandable, you can always ask for help at the CLSC.

4. Never accept violence and disrespect

Sometimes, people can lose patience with their sick loved ones. Violence and disrespect should never be accepted. If ever there is any, you can always call the ABUS-AÎNÉS line at 514-489-2287 or SOS Violence Conjugale at 1-800-363-9010 (24 hours a day, confidential). This also applies to you, because if you don't know how to react to the mood swings of your loved ones, it can be useful to talk to professionals.

5. Talk to people

It can't be easy to go through what you are going through. It is important to be able to talk to someone about it, whether it is a friend, another family member or a colleague at work. Of course, there are also outside resources such as the Caregiver Info Line (1-855-852-7784) or the Info-Social Line (811).

6. Stop the guilt

Guilt takes away energy. As we all know, no one is perfect. The important thing is to do your best with kindness and to seek support.

7. Ask the CLSC for help

The CLSC is a public organization that offers many services and if they are not free, they are at low cost, which is not negligible. Home support services can include, for example, help with everyday activities (bathing, eating, dressing), nursing, medical care, social services and nutritional counseling.

8. Give yourself some time alone

It's important to relax and recharge your batteries, because this is a job that requires a lot of effort and time. We know it's hard to take time for yourself, but don't forget that it's not the 12 coffees you'll drink that will give you the energy you need, but a good night's sleep.

9. Spoil yourself

Life is not just about helping others. It is also important to spoil yourself, because you deserve it. To avoid forgetting yourself, don't hesitate to treat yourself, for example, by buying your favourite magazine, having a nice dinner with good company or enjoying your favourite hobby. You are as important as the person you are helping.

10. Re-read these tips often to remember to be kind to your loved one and ...yourself! :)

We hope you like our articles. Leave us a comment if there's a particular topic you'd like us to cover. See you soon!

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