Taking care of a senior loved one can be a rewarding experience for a family caregiver, but some situations can become stressful. This may hold true if you focus your time and effort on your loved one and neglect your own needs. Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent stress and burnout.
If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elder home care, Vancouver Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
As a caregiver, it is important for you to focus on your own health and wellbeing. Here are a few ways you can prevent caregiver stress from building up.
1. Stay Healthy
When stressed, family caregivers may begin to neglect their own health needs. They stop eating healthy, stop exercising, pick up bad habits like smoking and drinking, and don’t get enough sleep. If you find yourself falling into any of these patterns, stop and re-evaluate your life. If you aren’t healthy, you can’t take care of your loved one, and it can have an impact on your loved one’s health and wellbeing as well.
2. Stay Organized
Time management can also become a problem when you are caring for a senior loved one because you are managing two lives. Get organized by making to-do lists for the week and keeping a calendar on a desk, wall, or fridge so you can pencil in ideas. Try to stick to a routine. Label activities in order of importance, and make sure you manage the big tasks first. Even if you miss out on certain tasks, don’t be hard on yourself.
3. Stay Connected with Friends
Another problem caregivers typically face is losing social connections. They spend most of their time taking care of their loved ones and are often too tired or busy to make plans to go out with friends. However, maintaining social connections can be great for your emotional health, even if it means calling a friend on the phone or inviting him or her over for lunch. Your friends can also be good listeners when your share some of your caregiving frustrations.
4. Pamper Yourself
Sometimes, you just need to take some time to indulge in your favorite activities. You could soak in a warm bathtub with your preferred essential oils and a good book. Go get a pedicure or a haircut. Take a nap or order takeout from your favorite restaurant. These activities can help you feel replenished and better able to tackle your duties.
5. Take Time to Do Something You Enjoy
Just like social interactions, caregivers often lose sight of their own hobbies when they are stressed. Taking some time to pursue hobbies can be an excellent way to relieve stress. Go see the movie you’ve been waiting for, or head to the bookstore to pick up some new books. Schedule a tennis match or pull out your painting supplies. Keep up with some of the things you enjoy, and try to work on them each day, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes.
When providing care for a senior loved one with dementia, family caregivers face a greater risk of burnout. As a result, such caregivers may not have the time to pursue their hobbies or favorite activities. For some seniors in Vancouver, dementia care is essential. Regular mental stimulation helps slow the progression of the disease, supervision reduces the risk of dangerous behaviors, and compassionate companionship is a wonderful solution for alleviating the symptoms of dementia.
6. Go Outside
A breath of fresh air can have a positive impact on your health, so if you’re looking after an aging loved one 24 hours a day, maybe it’s time to go outside. A trip to a local park or walk down the street can be a good outing for your loved one too.
7. Hire Respite Care
If your caregiving duties become overwhelming and you start to feel burned out, respite caregivers can take over your loved one’s care. Taking a day, a weekend, or even a full week off can be refreshing for both you and your loved one, as you will be much more relaxed when you return. Consider hiring respite care if you need a break from your caregiving duties, whether it’s to travel or take some time to yourself.
If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Vancouver seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To learn more about our premier respite care, call us at (778) 279-3634.