Caring for elderly parents can be stressful. If you live in the Glasgow area, counselling could help, in addition to the tips below.
Your parents need you.
You’re committed to seeing them through their later years.
However, your responsibilities have multiplied greatly and you’re feeling the weight of caregiving more everyday.
The truth is, the stresses of caring for another adult or two is wearing you down….something you can’t afford when people are counting on you.
So what can you do to manage the stress and strain of caretaking?
Try the following 7 strategies to make life easier:
1. Accept the reality of your situation and your feelings about it. There is no point in denying your exhaustion or burying your feelings of overwhelm. You don’t want to enter into a cycle of blame, self-pity, or anger. It just makes caregiving harder and places undue burdens on the relationships with your parents, siblings, and other family members.
It’s perfectly okay to tell yourself and your family the truth.
2. Protect yourself from burnout. Don’t go it alone. You need help. It’s better to just admit it. You’re not weak or incapable. You simply need support and teamwork to provide your parents with the best care. And, honestly, isn’t that what you want for them?
Ask for help. In fact, ask for help before you even feel you need it. That way, you can receive assistance before exhaustion sets it.
Call on your siblings and immediate loved ones to be available during set times throughout the month. Investigate community resources and adult care services. Secure assistance, in and out of the home, allowing you and your parents the breaks and time away you all need.
3. Create daily routines, lists, and calendars that are not dependent on you. To keep the caregiving ship afloat, you have keep track of a multitude of priorities related to your parents.
Do your best to devise a daily routine of tasks and a calendar of regular outings for the sake of consistency and accessibility. This way, the lists and schedules can be assumed by other loved ones or professionals when you need to take some time off.
4. Remember that self-care is imperative for de-stressing your body and mind. Caregiving doesn’t necessitate self-neglect. It’s easy to start putting your own needs aside in order to make more room for your parent’s needs. However, the cycle of neglect will only worsen over time.
Safeguard your health. You and your parents will benefit from your attempts to incorporate enough sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition into your schedule.
It’s crucial you find time to relax, pursue your own interests, and strengthen your own relationships. Give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to meet your own physical and emotional needs.
5. Expand your sense of purpose and identity. Many caregivers develop tunnel vision and allow their lives to revolve around their parents’ comfort and needs, and the sacrifices that make both possible. Don’t get lost in caregiving. Look for ways that this experience is making you better and broadening your sense of self.
Practice meditation or journaling, or engage your faith to become more mindful of the impact this journey is making on you as a person. Slow down the flurry of daily tasks and step away from the mundane chores to give yourself time to think.
You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself.
6. Schedule regular meetings with a therapist or support group. Often, there is nothing more beneficial than knowing you’re not alone. Looking forward to venting your feelings and frustrations on a regular basis may make them easier to tolerate. Acknowledging the difficulties in your past and current relationship with your parents may be a relief.
Having a sympathetic ear or compassionate group of like minded people offers perspective and comfort.
7. Address depression immediately. Do you find you feel so stressed and stuck in your role as caregiver that hopelessness, irritability, and dissatisfaction are compromising your ability to provide care or relate well to your parents?
Seek the help of a therapist for caregiver support immediately.
Depression doesn’t just go away.
Caring for aging parents is both challenging and rewarding.
To do the job well, you must be physically and emotionally well.
Take care of yourself, to best take care of mum and dad.
Feeling stressed with caring for your elderly parents?
Call Neil Ward Counselling on 07970 860 711 to set up a FREE 15 minute telephone consultation to help you deal with the stress of caring for your elderly parents.