Being a carer for a loved one can be equally rewarding and difficult. Fortunately, with a bit of planning and thought, the process can be made easier and more efficient for yourself as well as the person you are caring for.

Prioritise your loved one's needs

Planning out things that need doing can go a long way in ensuring everything essential is done on a particular day.

Also important is prioritising the most important tasks for the day; what needs to be done immediately, and what can be put on hold for the time being?

Making a simple checklist can help with this, and can ensure you are not rushing around at the last minute trying to do something that could have easily been done earlier in the day.

However, ensuring your loved one’s safety should always be your first priority. If there are any potential hazards in the house, these should be dealt with first. For carers of those with dementia, this is even more important, as there is an increased risk of someone with the condition to injure themselves if there are hazards about.

Maintaining Independence

One of the many problems elderly people face as they get older, especially when they have a carer, is a sense of independence.

While old age can prevent many seniors from performing tasks they may have been able to do before, many still wish to maintain some degree of independence in their life.

As a carer, there are many ways in which you can help your loved one maintain this independence. You could ask your loved one to help you perform some simple tasks to help with the cooking, or if cleaning is required, tasks such as putting out the washing can help your loved one maintain a level of independence in their life.

A good night’s rest

Sleep is important for all of us, but it is even more so for the elderly. As a carer, ensuring your loved one's bedroom is comfortable and suitable for a goods nights rest can do wonders for their wellbeing.

In the summer when the sun is up for longer periods of time, consider black-out curtains or blinds to keep the light out. Look for other things that may prevent a good night’s sleep too, such as a ticking clock.

Taking care of yourself

And while your role as a carer is to look after your loved one, it is also important to look after yourself.

Being a carer can be demanding both physically and mentally, so allowing yourself moments of respite from time to time can be of great benefit.

Caring can sometimes be quite an isolating experience, so ensuring you keep relationships with friends in check and socialise can be a great way to combat this. Even just an hour catch-up with a friend over coffee can do wonders.

If a longer break is needed, there is always the option of placing your loved one in respite care for a day to give yourself the time off you need to allow yourself to be at your best when caring for your loved one.