As our adult population continues to age, the more frequently adult children are finding themselves becoming caregivers for their aging parents or other loved ones. Studies show that over 34 million Americans are providing care to an adult age 50+ and 16 million are providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Taking on this responsibility to care for a loved one is a major decision and one that can drastically change your life. Caregiver Statistics revealed that a majority of caregivers on average spend 6 days a month providing assistance with the activities of daily living and 13 days each month spent on tasks like shopping, housekeeping, and giving medication. Too many caregivers try to take everything upon themselves and don’t let others help when they offer. This is very common in caregivers and those who do this often experience what is called Caregiver Stress Syndrome, a serious condition that can put both the caregiver and their loved one at risk. This is especially prevalent among the many caregivers who are balancing work and other family responsibilities.
Here are a few of our top self-care tips for family caregivers to reduce stressed or burnt out:
Be Realistic and Reasonable
Remember that no one is perfect. You are not expected to be a joy-filled multi-tasker at all times. Cut yourself some slack and focus on being the best caregiver that you can realistically be. Your elderly loved one undoubtedly appreciates all that you do. It can be helpful to establish daily routines and goals so that you can clearly see what you are accomplishing each day to bolster your motivation.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for or Accept Help
Don’t be afraid to let your friends or other family members assist you! Even if they’re not quite able to care for your loved one, they may be able to help by fulfilling your weekly grocery shopping or running to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.
Focus on Your Own Health and Wellness
When you are busy caring for someone else, it can be easy to let your own health and wellness fall by the wayside. Be sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising to boost your energy levels and keep you feeling strong. Block out some time for your personal hobbies as well so that you don’t lose your sense of self.
Consider Seeking a Support Group
Your friends may have difficulty relating to what you are going through, so it can be helpful to join a support group in your area for caregivers for the elderly. These groups are designed to help caregivers interact with others who share similar experiences, which helps you to know that you are not alone.
A support group is when a collection of individuals going through the same or similar stressful situations in life meet and share their feelings and experiences with each other. Joining a support group as a family caregiver provides a safe place to express your experiences and concerns while relieving the symptoms of caregiver stress syndrome. These support groups can help you and your loved one through with services like respite home care for seniors, allowing you well deserved time for yourself. For support groups focused on specific health conditions, check these websites for additional information on how to reduce caregiver stress and local support group meetings:
At Renaissance Home Health Care and Adult Day Services, we understand that being a caregiver, while rewarding, can be draining. Whether you simply need a short break from your duties or would like to take advantage of ongoing home health care services, we invite you to learn more about home health or respite care services. With a dedicated team of licensed CHHAs, we ensure your loved one will receive the same level of care and attention that you already provide. To learn more about our care services, request a tour at one of our communities.