Many people have taken on the role of caregiver for family members and neighbours in this tricky time.

To give you some extra support and encouragement, experts at Forest Healthcare share some advice on how you can strive as a caregiver.

Take a break without guilt

Allow yourself to respite a couple of times in the day, without feeling guilty. A happy and refreshed carer is much better for everyone when they’ve taken a break themselves. Don’t ever be too hard on yourself, you’re doing the best you can during these difficult times.

When they look good, they feel good

It can be a fun task to make your loved one feel good by giving them a makeover. Washing their hair, giving them a haircut or changing their outfits can make a big difference to how they feel and see themselves. Even the simplest thing as wearing something with brighter colours can uplift their mood for the day.

Be patient

Given the current climate, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed. It is important to respect your family’s independence. Your patience might be tested so always remember to go for regular walks for a breath of fresh air. Work together as a team and you will find that communication is key.

Look for guidance 

If you’ve suddenly been put into the role of a caregiver, you might have a million questions. What should they eat? When should they be asleep? Just because you’re inside, doesn’t mean help isn’t available. Some organisations such as the Red Cross, have a lot of information online and via helplines. You can also use social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn to find a geriatric caseworker that can help identify any problems.

Be proactive

Have a plan in place to prevent any panic during last minute emergencies. This will help prevent a sense of control to the situation, by ensuring you know who to call if anything happened — do it even just for security and reassurance.

Be organised

Develop a daily routine and stick to it. Find something that you will stick to such as a wall planner, notebook or a Google calendar. Make a note of daily tasks like personal hygiene, meal preparation and dressing as well as important things, such as paying bills on time. Have doctors’ numbers handy in case you need them and set up any alerts for prescription pick-ups.

Don’t be hard on yourself

Being a carer triggers a lot of difficult emotions. You might resent your situation and then feel guilty for feeling that way. This doesn’t mean you don’t care for the person in question — it means you’re human. Instead of bottling your emotions, write them in a journal, talk about them with a loved one or share them in an online support group so you know you’re not alone.