As a family caregiver, it is your priority to help your parents stay healthy, safe, comfortable, and happy as they age in place.
This means devoting your time, energy, efforts, and resources to fulfilling their needs, and supporting their quality of life. While it is important to give your senior the level of care and assistance they need, it is critical you do not forget about taking care of yourself. Family caregivers are at much higher risk of experiencing stress and the potentially damaging consequences of stress than those adults who do not care for a family member. This stress can negatively impact your mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being, and even eventually diminish the quality of care you can give your parents. Taking the time to care for yourself during your caregiver experience ensures you can continue to be the highest quality caregiver possible for your senior, and can also continue to be there for your partner, or your children, and others who rely on you.
Use these tips to care for yourself during your caregiver experience:
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
While I can seem as though there’s too much on your to-do list each day it to devote too much time to sleeping, getting enough rest is critical to maintaining health and well-being, and supporting the care effort to give your parents. Good sleep hygiene means going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, focusing on getting good quality sleep, and making sleep as restorative as possible
Do not ignore signs of stress or burnout.
f you start to notice you are showing signs of caregiver stress or being burned out, don’t push these aside. Seek out help and support as soon as possible. Participating in a caregiver support group, seeking out individual care from a counselor or therapist, and simply taking a step back and focusing more on yourself prevents these issues from leaving it to serious consequences. Remember that some degree of stress is normal for everyone’s life, but it should not be a continuous element of your life, and should not feel as though it is negatively influencing your health, how you feel, or how you function on a daily basis
Give yourself permission to accept help.
Especially if your aging parent is dealing with extensive, or difficult, challenges and limitations, you should not feel as though you have to be the only one handling these issues all the time. Seek out help from your siblings, other family members, friends and neighbors willing to offer care to your parent, and even a professional home care provider. Dividing up care tasks gives you more time to handle your own personal care needs, and also it can ensure these care tasks are fulfilled in the most effective ways possible
Give yourself permission to take breaks.
It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are a caregiver. Simply because you care for your aging parent does not mean you shouldn’t be able to take breaks, relax, and even go on special getaways with your partner or family. Whether you need to take time off to take care of your children, because you get sick, to go on vacation, or for any other reason, give yourself permission to take these brakes. Look into respite care to ensure your parent has the support and assistance they need, and then make the most of your time away from your care experience
Respect your time for yourself.
Set aside time on a regular basis, whether it is every day or once a week, to focus completely on yourself. This can be taking a bubble bath, drinking your favorite hot beverage and reading a book, watching a particular television show, or working out. Whatever it is you want to do to relax, allow your brain to heal, and separate yourself from the stresses of the rest of your life, respect your need for this time, and follow through with it. Treat this time as you would any appointment or obligation, and stick to it
Being a family caregiver I can be one of the most fulfilling and meaningful roles you can fill during your life. It can also be extremely challenging and stressful. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed or as though there is more for you to do each day than you have time, energy, resources, and capabilities to handle. Fortunately, home care can help. Having an in-home care services provider with your senior on a regular basis you can take a step back and focus on other aspects of your daily life while still knowing your senior has all of the care, support, and assistance that they need. They can step in to fill care gaps, handle potentially sensitive tasks you or your senior are not comfortable with you handling, and ensure you have more time and energy for responsibilities such as caring for your children, managing your household, maintaining your career, staying connected with your partner, and caring for yourself. Through this care, both your senior and you can enjoy higher quality of life as they age in place.