How to deal with the stressors that come with caring for an aging loved one
Caring for an elderly loved one is a rewarding experience. All the same, it can put a lot of pressure on the caregiver. Individuals can focus so much time and attention on their senior that they don’t realize their own health and well-being are suffering. And since caregiving is typically a long-term responsibility, these stressors can have their own long-term effects on the mind and body. Signs of caregiver stress can include gaining or losing weight, sleeping too much or too little, constantly feeling overwhelmed, worried, or irritated, and losing interest in activities you used to enjoy.
It’s important for caregivers to learn how to deal with the pressures that come from supporting an aging loved one. First, recognize that you are not alone – and there are things that can help.
Maintain a regular exercise routine
When you’re stressed and exhausted all day, you might feel like doing anything but exercising. Do it anyway. Studies show that even five minutes of moderate exercise can improve your mood. Caregivers should strive for at least 30 minutes of exercise three to five times per week. If it’s easier, break up your 30 minutes into three 10-minute intervals to ensure you get it done. When you establish a regular exercise routine, you’ll notice a boost in energy levels and a clearer mind.
Join a support group
Whether it’s online or in-person, a caregiver support group is a great way to share your experiences and blow off steam with those who are experiencing similar issues. These support groups will not only allow you vent and get emotional help, but also gives you the opportunity to help others in return.
When you’re not caring for your loved one, caregivers tend to want to spend their downtime at home. Social isolation can increase your risk of depression and generate other forms of stress. That’s why it’s important to set aside time each week to spend time with family and friends, doing activities that you enjoy. Maintaining relationships outside of your daily routine is a crucial part in taking time for yourself.
Focus on the small victories
It’s normal to feel guilty or like you’re not doing enough – but there is no such thing as the “perfect” caregiver and no one has ever truly “figured it all out.” Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and striving to make the best decisions for your loved one. When times get tough, remind yourself of the small victories. Something as simple as getting your loved one to laugh, or helping them sleep through the night. If you aren’t patting yourself on the back for the small things, it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing – to make your aging senior’s life healthier and happier.
Ask for help
It can be difficult to imaging leaving your loved one in someone else’s care, but taking a break or some time away is one of the best things you can do for both yourself and your loved one. It’s impossible to do it all by yourself, and seeking professional help can make a huge difference in reducing daily stress. It’s a big reason why demand in the home health care industry continues to grow. Educate yourself on the different options that exist for home care services.
And if your loved one is in Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Indian River or Martin Counties, look no further than South Florida’s premier home health care provider for over 16 years. FirstLantic prides itself on providing only the highest level of home health aide services for your loved ones. Give us a call today at 877-618-3624 and we can help walk you through the process of determining if home healthcare is right for your situation.