Being a caregiver for an aging parent can disrupt your life significantly. However, it doesn’t mean you need to automatically give up everything. How do you balance family responsibilities with your own personal needs? Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re a family caregiver.
Being a Family Caregiver Will Result in Some Changes
The inevitable reality is that caring for a senior parent will require some sacrifices. You may end up devoting much of your time and energy to helping your parent. Most family caregivers report they have difficulty fitting all their responsibilities into a day. You may find yourself losing touch with friends, not having enough time for hobbies, or having to give up your own privacy. This doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice everything to care for your parent, but being aware of potential changes can help you better adjust.
Your Physical & Mental Health Should Still Be a Priority
Many caregivers make the mistake of putting their parents’ care over their own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. The reality is that this isn’t sustainable. If you want to be the best caregiver possible, you also need to take care of yourself. Your own needs for sleep, exercise, and relaxation should be just as much of a priority as taking your parent to the doctor or helping him or her with chores around the house. Try to create a schedule that acknowledges your own lifestyle requirements as well. Ignoring them can lead to resentment, burnout, or mental health problems for you.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Fort Myers families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.
Don’t Do Everything by Yourself
Making the mistake of thinking you owe it to your parent to personally handle his or her every need puts far too much stress on you. The typical person isn’t equipped to manage all the specialized needs of a senior with health problems. Being able to admit you cannot do everything yourself and ask for help is a far more manageable strategy. If you have friends and family, ask them to step in. Consider hiring an in-home caregiver or seeking government assistance for senior social programs.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elder care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Prepare for the Long Haul
A major reason many family caregivers get overwhelmed is because they start off thinking caregiving will be temporary. Some individuals may quit their jobs or move in with their parents while their loved ones recover from surgery or illnesses, and then years later, they realize their former lives are entirely gone. Even if you plan on being a family caregiver for just a month or two, treat the situation as if it will last for years. Make plans for financial stability that address both your long-term goals and your loved one’s needs. Avoid giving up on social engagements or activities you’re passionate about. This can maintain normalcy and create a more sustainable situation for everyone.
Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Fort Myers home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (239) 449-4701.