Taking care of an aging family member isn’t easy, especially if you’re loved one requires near-constant care. Many jump straight into assisted living and others choose in home care. It’s easy to get so caught up in taking care of their needs that you forget to take care of yourself — and that’s never a good thing. If you aren’t careful, caring for the senior in your life can be really overwhelming. Use these tips to avoid caregiver fatigue.
Caring for an elderly loved one is an important job. The work you’re doing has value, but if you don’t remind yourself of this regularly, you might become resentful.
Take a few minutes each day to practice gratitude by listing reasons you’re grateful for your role as a caregiver. Maybe you’re thankful that your loved one is still in your life, or you’re grateful that you’re able to make time to take care of your loved one’s needs — it’s not something everyone can do.
Join a Support Group
Caregiver support groups connect you with a community of people dealing with similar issues and problems. Most areas have local support groups available for caregivers, but if your time is really limited, you should consider joining an online support group.
AARPhas a forum where you can chat online with other caregivers. You can also find information on caregiver support groups through your local Alzheimer’s Association or the CancerCare website.
Make Time For Yourself
Caregivers often get so caught up in doing everything for everyone else that they forget to leave time for themselves. But it’s really important to let yourself take a break when you need one. When you’re happy, healthy, and well-rested, it shows. It’s easier to be more attentive, show empathy, and appreciate the time you spend with your loved one.
Consider adding a simple exercise routine to your daily or weekly schedule. Taking a short walk each day is a great way to relax and refresh. You should also consider meditating regularly to keep stress at bay.
If you can’t leave your loved one for long periods of time, look into adult day care options in your local area. Respite care is also a great option when you need to take a break.
Consider Assisted Living
If caring for your loved one takes up the majority of your time, you should consider assisted living. While moving your loved one into a senior care facility is often a hard decision to make, it benefits both of you. Many assisted living facilities offer programs and activities for seniors, and some even take regular field trips, so your loved one can spend more time doing activities he or she enjoys. And you aren’t responsible for every little thing, so you can actually relax and enjoy the time you spend with your loved one.
Get Help From Others
Avoiding caregiver burnout isn’t easy if you aren’t willing to ask for help. You need to know that it’s okay to let people help you. In fact, most people are glad to lend a helping hand. Consider asking other family members, neighbors, and friends to complete small portions of your to-do list. Then, you can focus on the tasks that are super important.