“I’ll do it.”

“Let me deal with that.”

“It’s ok, I’ve got it.”

…Sound familiar?

In the short term it’s often easier to provide that extra bit of help to the person you care for to save time and effort in completing a task or because you care too much. However, the more often you resort to doing things for another (who can do it) you’re not only wearing yourself out, you’re disempowering the person you care for. When you choose to provide encouragement and an opportunity for development, you set the tone for possibility rather than limitation and defeat. You also minimise co-dependency which can lead to caregiver burnout.

Promoting a person’s independence is a fine balance of knowing when they really need help, and when they need to do something independently. And of course, there will be times when you need to step in. The way you approach ‘stepping in’ impacts the persons confidence and/ or feelings of burdensome. Gentle encouragement, patience and maintaining light-heartedness will help ease any frustration.

There is no one size fits all approach to providing effective care, however it’s important to remember that you don’t need to do it all. Here are three suggestions on how you can share the load with the person you care for and encourage independence:

Encouraging independence may require a little more effort initially, but it supports your wellbeing in the long term and empowers the person you care for.

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