The best way you can take care of your elderly parent is to take care of yourself first. So many caregivers let themselves become angry and bitter over the responsibilities of caregiving and sacrifice their lives and careers for it. You can still have your own life while being a caregiver, and in fact you need to have your own life, because no one can stay sane while managing to care for their parent without it.
How to Take Care of Yourself
Apart from hiring senior care services, there are some basic needs you have to see to in order to live happily while caregiving. Paying attention to these is crucial to your wellbeing as well as that of your aging mother or father’s wellbeing. Here is a list of the most important things you should make sure to fit into your week. Having a schedule and making an ‘appointment’ for each item seems to work best; when you have it on the calendar just like a doctor visit, it tends to get done more than if you didn’t write it down.
- Get some good exercise. Physical activity will help you feel better all day and help you sleep, too. The overall physical and mental benefits of exercise greatly outweigh the time commitment: aim for about 3 hours a week of moderate activity.
- Find a class about how to be a caregiver. You can learn some new ways of caring for your parent and dealing with challenges. It’s also fun to meet other caregivers and talk about your stories. The socializing is a good cure for isolation.
- Go to your doctor, not just accompanying your parent to their doctor. You need to keep on top of your checkups, including dentist and optometrist visits. Even if you’ve always had pretty good health, you can have signs of depression or frustration due to your caregiving responsibilities.
- Eat healthy! Not only will better food give you more energy and keep you from catching anything your parent might have, but it’s easy and cheap to prepare good food with fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins.
- Have enough time to sleep. Having young children at home as well as caregiving can put a lot of burden on your body, and it needs its sleep. Try to arrange things with your spouse or partner to have children in bed early or other things that get in the way of your sleep to be taken care of.
- Make sure you have time for things you enjoy doing, such as hobbies. If you like drawing, or playing a musical instrument, reading or biking, or gardening, then schedule some ‘me time’ for you to be able to do those things.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of senior care in Canandaigua, NY contact the caregivers at Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (585) 245-0134 for more information.
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