If you are providing care for an elderly spouse or relative, it can be extremely taxing for you. Caring for an adult who require special care regimens can easily take up the bulk of your day, leaving you with little time to run errands, perform yard work, or simply clean your house. While caring for an elderly family member is, of course, an essential labor of love, it’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves so they can optimally cope with the challenges they face each day.
Watch out for Depression
Many caregivers of seniors can easily become depressed themselves because they’ve overdone it and left themselves with little time to de-stress. Signs of depression can include insomnia, anxiety, lack of appetite, and feelings of hopelessness. If your blue mood extends beyond two weeks, it’s essential to speak with your own healthcare provider. There are many treatment options for depression. Sometimes, the best medicine for depression is to take time for yourself to perform that activities that make you feel good such as gardening, walking, or meeting with friends.
Ask for Help
It’s important for caregivers to realize that they don’t have to do it all. Ask grandchildren or church friends for help. Make sure you get to your own doctor’s appointments and perform the errands you need to make your care-giving regimen run smoothly. You may decide it’s time to hire a home-healthcare nurse into your scenario or find a home health aide that can take some of the duties off your plate. As AARP suggests, “even far away relatives can perform some tasks,” so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.
If you feel disorganized while caring for a loved one, you might consider asking a geriatrics professional for help in creating a structured care plan. That way you can build in important down time for yourself. When you’re organized everything from meals to healthcare appointments seems to run more smoothly. When you find yourself in disarray… pause, take a breath, and figure out a brand new routine that can encompass all your responsibilities.
Know Your Limits
It can be extremely difficult to relinquish care of your loved one, even when professional care is what they most require. For loved ones suffering from illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, there may come a point when the ideal care comes from a respected healthcare center that provides a secure yet comfortable setting. Once you come to terms with your decision and understand you’ve done all you could, you can transition into this next phase of care while still playing a valuable role, loving family member.
Caring for an elderly family member is certainly challenging, but also rewarding. When you care for yourself, you’ll be able to remain far more positive than if you let your own mood slip. By taking time to replenish your physical and emotional strength, you’ll be able to better cope with your responsibilities and enjoy a brighter outlook as you should.