Serving as a family care provider for a senior is truly an act of love. And while it may certainly be rewarding, it can also quickly become daunting, due to:
- The physical challenges of a chronic health condition
- The cognitive challenges of dementia
- Feeling helpless and unable to fix the senior’s difficulties
- Feeling overworked without enough time for self-care
- And countless other contributing factors
It is very important for family caregivers to set aside regular time each day for self-care that allows them to recover and recharge, and counteract stress. Still, prioritizing time for you to do so may seem impossible.
At Grace Home Care, our Topeka caregivers know how much stress family members struggle with when a senior loved one is in need of assistance. Our services benefit not just the older adults we care for, but the rest of the family as well, allowing family caregivers to get much-needed time away. These guidelines from our aging care experts can help relieve caregiver stress, prioritize self-care, and restore peace:
- Take deep breaths. Deep breathing is an excellent way to quickly calm an anxious heart. And you can practice it anywhere, at any time! Simply settle into a comfy, seated position, breathe in through your nose while counting silently to five. Then, release your breath through your nose, again while silently counting to five. Repeat as often as needed until you are feeling more peaceful.
- Think intentionally. Concentrating on the difficulties occurring right now is a normal impulse, but with some practice, you can intentionally shift your thinking to something more constructive. In the middle of a demanding event, the positives are probably not easy to find, but they’re there nonetheless – even if they may be something as relatively insignificant as the beauty of the bouquet of flowers on the table, the lyrics to your favorite song, or perhaps the scent of apple pie baking in the oven.
- Be grateful. Meeting the care needs of a loved one is very important work, work this is certainly deserving of appreciation. It’s work that you’d thank someone else for doing, but are you taking time to appreciate yourself? Often, family caregivers are hard on themselves when replaying all the mistakes they’ve made. Instead, acknowledge the things you’re doing that sincerely help your family member, and value yourself for the compassion you’re showing.
- Work out frequently. Physical activity produces endorphins that provide a natural boost to your mental outlook. If it’s difficult to reserve time for a full exercise session, it’s equally effective to break your exercise time up into smaller activities during the day. This might be as easy as parking your car in an area that’s farther from a store entrance, choosing the stairs as opposed to the elevator, or peddling on a stationary bike while chatting with a loved one.
The best way to lower stress and achieve a healthier life balance, however, is by partnering with a dependable in-home care agency, like Grace Home Care. It’s not always easy asking for help; but caregiving is not meant to be a one-person job.
Ongoing, regular respite care enables family caregivers to take routine breaks for themselves, which in turn causes them to be more patient and effective caregivers – a significant benefit for seniors. And, it gives seniors an additional socialization opportunity, with a fully experienced, kind and friendly caregiving companion.