Family members take up most of the caregiving roles in the United States instead of healthcare professionals. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is true for roughly 80 percent of long-term caregivers. Although the elder will need the help of their caregiver, it is important that this relative take excellent care of themselves.
You may think of yourself as selfish for doing this for you instead of others, but there is no reason to feel guilty. By caring for yourself, you will also be able to provide quality, attentive care to your aging parent. In order to better care for yourself, follow these tips for a healthier lifestyle.
Set goals you can reach. You may have big ideas for what you would like to accomplish in a day with your elderly loved one, but it is important for your own sanity that you set realistic goals. You can start by breaking each task down into smaller ones, prioritizing which ones should be accomplished first.
Do not expect to do it all. There are going to be some jobs that you will not be able to do alone. Accepting that you need help will relieve some of the stress you are putting on yourself to do everything for them.
Get help. If a friend, family member, or other loved one is offering to help care for your loved one, take them up on the offer. An elder care provider can also take care of your loved one while you take a much needed break.
Take care of your health. Through all of the doctor appointments you take your aging parent to, chances are you are not having regular doctor visits like you should. Taking care of your health is very important because you can’t care for others unless you are healthy. It is also important that you set your own realistic health goals. This should include making sure you go to bed at a certain time, a certain amount of weight you would like to lose or gain, and how much exercise you would be willing to do each week.
Join a support group. Support groups are an excellent way to meet other caregivers who are in similar situations. You can swap stories and advice in order to help ease your caregiving frustrations.
By following these strategies, you will be able to ease your mind and fulfill your caregiving duties without any added stress.