It’s a given: at some point, you will experience elder care stress in some form or another from taking care of your aging parents.
they all start piling up and before you know it, you feel like you’re ready to explode.
- The little petty things that bother you,
- the sense of being overwhelmed,
- the sacrifices you make…,
- you name it,
Then there’s the stress of being apart from your elderly parents if you live far away:
The list goes on and on.
- wondering if they’re ok,
- worrying about their safety, their state of mind, whether they’re lonely or not.
Those caring for parents with Alzheimer's or dementia have plenty of reasons to stress, too.
For one caregiver who is taking care of a 94-year-old woman with dementia, it’s the constant replay of a “feedback loop” the woman gets into, over and over again.
“I swear, she could ask me the exact same question 18 times in the space of 8 minutes (and has, believe me!).
After about the 8th or 9th time of hearing, “Is it too early for lunch?” or “Waiting for lunch”, especially when she just ate breakfast, I’m about ready to go stark, raving mad!”
For others, it’s the constant roaming that some aging parents do: up and down hallways towards doors to the outside world where danger lurks for one who couldn’t possibly find their way back home.
- Reaching the door before they do,
- silencing an alarm,
- turning them in another direction,
- finding a distraction…,
- etc., etc...
The “Bathroom Issue” is a sore spot for some.
“But I just changed her 20 minutes ago!” one might wail at Mom’s insistence that she’s wet (again.)
Still others simply find it difficult to manage even a partial day of work they usually do plus taking care of their parent.
How you handle elder care stress overload is important. Just remember...
help is at hand.
So many people who care for aging seniors battle elder care stress. There are now services that give them a break from their duties. They can take over for them, if only for a few hours. They are called
- companion care, or
- home health aides, or
- respite care,
and they allow you to run errands, relax and recharge
, or just get out of the house. In short, take care of you so that, when you return, you can once again take care of them.
Another service, called in-home hospice
care, gives support to those who are dying and their family caregivers with end-of-life issues.
You say you’ve arranged for someone to relieve you later but you’re at your wit’s end now? Don’t despair.
Just remind yourself that whatever yor aging parent is doing is a symptom of their illness and not something they do just to annoy you.
- Pour yourself a cup of hot tea,
- sit down and read to them or
- pore over family photos together,
- play some relaxing music,
- walk with them,
- distract and/or calm them.
It’s like soothing a cranky person, only one who’s 80- or 90-some years old.
Or you might try taking the advice of the caregiver of the 94-year-old dementia mom:
“When I start to feel stressed out, I simply clasp my hands, close my eyes and pray, “Dear Heavenly Father, please give me strength, love, patience and compassion enough to make it through this day. Amen.”
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With that, I immediately feel a wash of calm over me and I’m able to face another day. It’s cheaper and just as effective as any respite service out there, and it works every time.”