If you are someone who is has the responsibility of caring for an older person, it is also important to take care of yourself. When you are in charge of the day to day comfort of an elder, it is easy to let your own needs slide. Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of them, so consider some of these techniques to help you stay refreshed and in charge.
Elder care can be exhausting. If you are someone who caring for a parent or loved one twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you will find that you are running fairly close to the edge. Talk to the people around you and ask for help. There are volunteer organizations that you can seek for day to day help, and there are also facilities that can help if you need a longer break. Elder care can be a tough job, and simply knowing that you are not going at it at alone can make a huge difference.
Sometimes, taking care of an older person can feel like you are hopping from one disaster to another. Everything can be a crisis, and everything can turn into a problem, or so it feels. When you are running at a fairly intense rate, you need to keep up your strength, and this means eating well. Be honest with yourself and realize that sometimes, you are just going to need to consume fast and convenient food to get by. On the other hand, think about making large batches of food that you like and freezing it in portions. Having good food around will help you stay energized and patient.
Talk to Friends
When you are caring for an elder, you may be uncomfortable and shocked to find out how angry and resentful you can get at times. These are natural feelings, and while it is important that you be fair and kind, you’ll find that these feelings need to be expressed as well. Make some time every week to talk to someone you like. When you are caring for an elder, particularly if the care is very demanding, it is easy to isolate yourself. This can lead to situations where you end up exploding in anger or frustration, which is far from productive. Whether you text, phone or do a voice chat, make sure that you have some time to talk to someone who is not involved in the situation.
Group activities can be enormously beneficial for you and for the person that you are caring for. When someone is in a condition where they need care, they can also become quite isolated and lonely. Look in your area for people who are in similar situations. Sometimes a group outing with people in similar situations is exactly what you need. These outings are usually geared towards the capabilities of the elders, and can be a wonderful way to get out of the house.
Oftentimes, being a caregiver means that you are very homebound, and that in turn can mean that you become significantly less active. Because of this, you will often find that you lose energy and muscle tone, two things that are quite important when you are dealing with elder care. Make sure that you have a way to stay fit even when you are stuck at home. Choose a form of exercise that suits who you are and what you like. For some people, it is weight lifting. For other people, it is a dance instructional video. Think about your favorite ways to work out and bring them into your home.
Connect With Others
There are many support groups online and locally (click here for a short list) that are designed to help people taking care of older family members. While your friends may be a sympathetic ear, they do not necessarily know how to handle the problems you are going through. Connecting with people in a similar situation can be an enormous help.
When you are thinking about caring for an elder, remember that you do not necessarily need to do it alone. There are many resources out there that can help you maintain both the quality of care and your own quality of life.