Nobody told you about caregiver stress...
- You love your aging parents.
- And you are doing the best you can.
Burn-out can happen when you least expect it. And when it hits, watch out. Something’s got to give, or give out, and usually that something is you!.
When you think about it, by not taking care of yourself, you’re not giving the best of care to your loved one. Care-giving can lead to burnout, which can also lead to mistakes.
It can also lead to you becoming the one who needs care. If that happens, where would that leave those who depend on you for their care?
You can help reduce caregiver stress.
Some ways you can look after yourself are so simple they’re often overlooked.
- Take time out to see to your own needs. Even for just a few hours every couple of days, give yourself a break to do something you enjoy.
- See a movie, go to the park, take a walk, or spend time with friends.
- If you are able to leave your parents in the hands of a good, reliable helper while you are gone, then both you and your parent will be refreshed when you return.
- Nutrition and what you eat, for instance, can affect how you feel, how much energy you have, and how you think. Fight the impulse to eat junk food, or to eat on the run, or to load up on sweets for energy.
A diet that’s good for you provides fuel your body needs. By eating right and getting enough exercise, you can begin to ward off caregiver stress before your day even gets started.
- Don’t skip your own regular checkups. Keep tabs on your own moods. If you are feeling quite sad, hopeless, distracted, apathetic then perhaps you should get help from others.
Get some advice from senior care advisers who can suggest solutions from various sources. They can assist you with everything from managing your parent’s care to finding home repairmen.
- They can also assist with hiring a good substitute home health aide or caregiver. If you make good use of outside resources, it will result in better use of your time.
Time now spent doing everything because you mistakenly think you must do it all by yourself can then be used for doing things you want to do, for yourself or with your loved one.
- Your outlook is important, too. Try to avoid stress. Try to avoid negativity. A positive mindset has an enormous effect in how you greet each day’s challenges.
- Find a support group to share your frustrations when they do arise, rather than dwell on them. It is well known that stress is often brought on or worsened by pent-up emotions of guilt, frustration and fatigue.
- Maintaining order can help you stay positive, too. Just using a calendar or daily planner to organize tasks can free up space for positive thoughts rather than chaos.
You can avoid caregiver stress by accepting your limits and taking time out for yourself, as a favor to you and your aging parent.
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