Being a family caregiver for your elder loved one is stressful. In fact, adults who take on the responsibility of caring for their elder parent are much more likely to experience stress and its consequences than those who don’t. This stress is increased dramatically when your parent is dealing with a serious health issue, a progressive challenge, or otherwise has serious needs.
It is essential for you to manage this emotional stress in healthy, constructive ways so you can protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and be the best caregiver possible for your senior.
Some healthy ways to cope with emotional stress in your caregiver experience include:
Rely on your friends and family to be there for you, provide emotional support, and give you comfort.
Maintain your hobbies. They are not a waste of time. Rather, they give you something to help you relax, give your mind a break, and give you a sense of control, accomplishment, and self as you care for your elder.
Find a relaxation method that works for you and use it regularly. This could be yoga, tai chi, meditation, breathing techniques, or anything else designed to relax you.
Maintain a healthy body weight. Being excessively over or underweight increases stress and worsens the complications associated with it.
Make sure you stay physically active, exercising at least 150 minutes per week.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet with the nutrients your body needs to give you energy, ward off illness and infection, and make you feel your best.
Set aside time for “me time” every week. During this time, do something you enjoy, not more errands or requirements.
It is important to never forget about yourself and your own needs when you are a family caregiver. While it’s normal for you to focus on your parent and want to devote as much time and energy to them as you can, overlooking yourself can lead to extreme stress, exhaustion, and other serious problems. You may even find your health, relationships, and quality of your care suffering.
Instead, reach out for help. Having an elder care provider as part of your care network for your elderly loved one can make a huge difference in not just the care your senior receives, but also your quality of life. An elder home care services provider can take on care tasks for your parent on a regular basis, taking that pressure off you and letting you focus your energy and attention on other care tasks as well as taking care of yourself. The result is better care for your elder, and a healthier life for you.