As we get older, many of us will become sick and infirm, and a portion of us will end up with disabilities. This means that a portion of us will also end up caring for a partner with a disability.
Carers of the disabled are more likely to be stressed and suffer from symptoms of loneliness, isolation and depression than the general population, which is shocking, but perhaps not surprising. There needs to be a change in the way that carers are supported via official means, but until that happens, if you are caring for a disabled partner, you need to do what you can to take good care of yourself.
With that in mind, here are some tips that may help you cope as a carer:
- Make time for yourself
It may seem impossible and you may feel selfish for doing it, but you do need to make time for yourself as a carer. It really isn’t selfish because if you don’t take care of yourself and your own health, and you end up sick, who will take care of your loved one? And anyway, you deserve to have your own time and space just because you do – everyone does.
If you’re struggling to get time to yourself due to your caring duties, see if a friend or family member can come help out. If that isn’t possible, talk to disability charities to see what respite is available to you. It’s not always easy to access them, but there are options and charities are often the best people to help you access them.
- See what Financial help is available
From carers allowance to SUV Motability offers, there re various schemes and entitlements that could lighten your load if you’re worried about the financial side of caring for your partner. Check out Gov.uk to see what is available and what you may be entitled to and apply. There is no shame in it, and if it makes your life even a little easier it will be worthwhile.
- Learn to meditate
It may seem a little hippy-dippy or a pointless waste of time when time is so precious. But meditation really can be transformative. If you can learn how to clear your head, treat your thoughts as nothing more than passing waves and learn how to better control your emotions, you can find more peace and happiness than you ever thought possible, even when you’re in a difficult situation. Even just 10 minutes of mindfulness a day could help to relieve stress and prevent you from feeling low, so do give it a try.
- Do fun things together
Your partner may be disabled and the things you can do together may have to change as a result, but it’s important that you take time out to bond and do something you enjoy together, If your life revolves solely around caring needs, it will be frustrating for you both, so go for a drive in the country, play a fun game of scrabble or listen to an audiobook together and just be a couple again, it will make the world of difference.
You got this.