- Senior Living
Balancing Life as a Caregiver
Becoming a caregiver is an extremely rewarding experience. It’s an opportunity for you to give back to a parent or family member who has given so much of their time to you, and now you’re returning the favor. Yet, this shift in roles can also be a source of guilt or stress over providing adequate care for your loved one.
Life Care Services understands the pressure caregivers are under and want them to know we’re here for you. By following these tips, you can start alleviating some of your stress and start providing capable care.
It’s Okay to Accept Help
It’s easy to fall into the idea that you need to do everything on your own, but removing even small things off of your plate can significantly lighten your load.
Start by creating a list of tasks that a trusted friend or family member can help you with, and have the helper choose what they would like to do. Whether they decide to take your loved one on a walk a couple of times a week or pick up the groceries you need, you may not realize the difference having one less task on your to-do list makes until that time has been freed up.
Set Realistic Goals
If you let them, day-to-day responsibilities can build up into an overwhelming jumble. By breaking down your day into a set of basic tasks that can be done one at a time, you can prioritize and develop a daily routine for yourself. If an event is too draining, it’s okay to say no!
Ultimately, you need to focus on the care that you can provide, rather than create guilt over what you can’t provide. No caregiver is perfect, but remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can.
Take Time for Yourself
Recognize when you need a vacation! You’re allowed to take time for yourself and unwind from the stress of daily life. You may feel that taking a vacation from being a caregiver is selfish, but if you don’t take a break from your responsibilities you sacrifice your overall health and wellness.
When you’re not mentally your best, your ability to be the best caregiver possible can take a hit as well.
Spend Time with Friends
Social support is crucial to our mental health, and that is doubly true for caregivers. Creating the time to vent to a sympathetic ear, or just get a break from your daily routine, can be essential to preserving your mental health and lightening your mood.
You deserve to have fun! Taking time to be with your friends will relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, and stifle any feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Establish Personal Health Goals
With all of the other responsibilities on your plate, your physical health can fall to the wayside. Reminding yourself to be physically active, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water can be a good motivator to stay in a healthy routine.
Many caregivers develop issues with their sleep routine. Not getting quality sleep or enough sleep can create health issues over time. By working to maintain a more structured sleep routine, and eliminating distractions around bedtime, you can take steps towards getting better rest.
Know When It’s Time to Transition
Eventually, there may come a time when you need to adjust the roles you and your loved one have been placed into. By helping the person you care for transition to a senior living community, you can ensure your loved one gets the care they need, and get back the parent-child, aunt/uncle-niece/nephew, relationship you're used to. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means everyone was ready for a change.
A majority of the time, this kind of transition improves the relationship between family members. This progression is an opportunity to renew the dynamic you and your loved one had prior to becoming a caregiver.
Turn to Life Care Services for Senior Living Support
Moving to a senior living community is a big decision that should be approached with an open and patient discussion about you and your loved one’s needs. Even when a move opens up a bunch of new and exciting opportunities, big changes can evoke a lot of difficult emotions. Take some time to be there for each other!
If you’re ready to begin the conversation, our helpful find a community tool can help you start your search for high-quality communities in your area.