Caring For Elderly Parents at Home? How to not feel Overwhelmed
Taking care of an elderly loved one isn’t something you prepare for. Most family caregivers get to know what works and what doesn’t on-the-job. On-the-job training, especially if it entails taking care of a senior loved one, can be energy-sapping. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, caring for your loved one becomes even more difficult. The best thing you can do for you and your loved one at that point is to take a break. Even if it’s just you and your loved one in the house, you can contact an online caregiver support group and talk to someone.
To help you in your caregiving journey, here are five tips to ensure you are at your best as you take care of your loved one.
1. Listen to Your Body and Take Care of It
When you’re taking care of your elderly loved one, you may not want to take a break.
However, it’s good to listen to your body and take note of the messages it’s giving you. If you’re feeling depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, have trouble sleeping or concentration, maybe it’s time to take a break.
Some things that you can do to lift your spirits include:
· Take a break from caregiving and engage in an activity that you enjoy
· Ask for help from family members
· Talk to someone who will understand what you’re going through
· Exercise to relieve stress
· Engage in fun activities such as watching a movie with your loved one
· Set healthy boundaries and know when it’s too much
2. Have a Routine that Works
A daily routine provides structure and stability for you and your loved one. Your loved one will know what to expect, and with time the routine may become a habit. This may also mean you don’t have to struggle with your senior on the tasks that you want them to do. When your aged loved one is more cooperative, you will have a more enjoyable day.
Having a regular daily routine also improves sleep for older adults. When your loved one sleeps better at night, they will be less irritable during the day. Routine is also good for you as it improves your ability to make decisions as you don’t have to make tiny little decisions at the spur of the moment.
3. Join a Caregiver Support Group
The time you spend with your loved one will be a source of joyous lifelong memories. But this doesn’t mean you should lose yourself in the process.
Caregiving can be stressful. The emotional and physical stress can cause health issues. The help of a local or online caregiver support group can come in handy in such a situation.
Here is what you can get from such a group:
· Extensive information and tips on how to take care of your loved one
· You get to share and talk to people who understand you
· Listening to other caregivers’ experiences can help relieve stress
· Get trusted advice from caregivers advocates to help you in your caregiving journey
4. Communicate Effectively
Effective communication is critical in your caregiving journey.
Elderly adults often feel left out of important decisions, and they may feel the need to retain some form of control over their lives. This can result in them being stubborn and uncooperative. Effective communication ensures your elderly parent gets the care they need and that their needs are also met.
Being an active listener is part of effective communication. Active listening allows your loved one to express themselves. It also makes them feel that they matter and that you are focusing on more than their physical needs. You should also look out for non-verbal cues to know if your loved one is pleased with the care you’re giving them.
5. Stay Positive
Staying positive is good for you and your elderly family member. Being optimistic can make the caregiving process lighter. Besides, you’ll feel much better about yourself and what you’re doing.
Here are ways you can stay positive despite the challenges that come with being a carer for a senior:
· Surround yourself with supportive and positive people
· Smile often, even if you don’t feel like it
· Have a gratitude journal where you pen all the things you’re grateful for
· Do something nice for your loved one
Making sure your elderly family member is safe and healthy is admirable. But if it ever gets overwhelming, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help. Even if you have no one to talk to, an online caregiver support group help is only a click away.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes