Caring for a senior loved one yourself can be difficult and overwhelming, especially if you’re still working a regular job at the same time, as well as managing other responsibilities such as kids and running your own errands. As well as taking up a great deal of time, caring for a loved one can be emotionally draining if they are suffering from a condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
It’s extremely important to look after yourself as well as the person you’re caring for. If you’re in this situation, then here are some tips to help you manage the stress that comes with being a caregiver.
Look after your health and wellbeing
You know how airplane emergency procedures always tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before putting your child’s on? The same theory can be applied to caregiving. If you don’t look after yourself properly, then you’re not going to be as effective at looking after someone else. Make time for the important things like getting enough sleep, eating right, staying active, socializing, and resting.
Know your limits
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to caregiving. It’s important to know your limits and set boundaries where necessary. You can’t be a full-time carer and work a full-time job, so learn to manage your priorities and your time, taking time off work or switching to part-time. Don’t be afraid to say no if something is beyond your scope of care, and don’t be afraid to rely on others when you need to.
Rely on respite care when needed
To follow on from the above point, respite care allows you to take a break while someone else takes care of your loved one. You can hire an in-home carer to take over your responsibilities for a weekend or a week, whatever you need. Or your loved one could have a short stay in a care facility instead.
Speak to others
You’re not alone in your situation. There are professional caregivers and people who also care for their loved ones who know how you’re feeling. You can get support and join communities or forums online to talk to others who understand your situation and are able to give you advice or just give you someone to vent to.