Find Time for Self-Care as a Senior Caregiver

Self-Care as a Senior Caregiver

Self-help articles constantly demand that people care for themselves to respect others better. In recent years and during the pandemic, the need for good self-care has become apparent. However, caregivers do not often have the time or resources to provide for their self-care.

When caring for elderly relatives or friends, it is also essential to keep your batteries charged. When you do not have spare time or resources, however, you must also become creative about carving out time and treats for yourself. The following pointers can help you care for yourself while caring for others.

Step away for just one moment.

Caregivers have a lot of responsibilities. Often other people’s mental and physical well-being depends on them. Especially when caring for the very sick or very frail, caregivers often find themselves in situations where they feel they cannot leave the person for whom they are watching, even for a moment.

Helping people is an intense job. It can lead to very many stressful emotional moments and exhausting physical ones. Although it often can be impossible to step away from a person whom you are helping physically, there will be other moments when the person you are supporting would be safe by themselves for just a few moments. So tell yourself, I’m here now, but shortly I will have the opportunity to step away.

Then, please do it. Go into a different room. Step outside just for a second. Take a deep breath and recognize that you are doing an important job, but give yourself this moment. Visualize yourself in a more restful place, or imagine a peaceful moment in warming sunshine or a relaxing moonlit night. Stepping away can be essential to regain your equilibrium and recognize that you still have your agency and can make such moments for yourself.

Incorporate routines that help you into the habits you have created for others.

The work never stops when you look after others, whether in their home, your home, or when out in public. It can be exhausting. It is also not the time to deny yourself whatever small pleasures you feel you can afford.

If getting a to-go coffee or treat or meal comforts you, build in time on outings and errands to pick up such a treat. Of course, you will be constrained somewhat by the needs of the person you are helping (you wouldn’t want to eat fast food in front of someone on a restricted diet, for instance), but there will often be ways to help yourself while helping others.

Likewise, small and calming routines can help the person you are providing care for. Do you need to remind your charge to take certain medications at certain times? Perhaps the two of you can enjoy a tea or other comforting beverage together simultaneously. Does the person you’re caring for have specific television programs or podcasts they want? Use those times to take ten minutes for yourself, and have something ready to enjoy. Have a book on hand or a bookmarked podcast that you can listen to when you get small breaks.

Although you should live in the moment, remember to plan for the long term.

Although it’s essential to take each day as it comes and appreciate each moment, it is also necessary to be realistic about the job you are taking on.

Never go into a caregiving situation assuming that it “won’t last very long” or “they won’t need much help.” Caring for people and their bodies is an unpredictable business, and elderly or other compromised patients who think they will only need help for a short period can be mistaken.

Make sure to communicate your expectations, abilities, and time availability from the very beginning. Plan from the start when you will need time off to address your own family, work, and other needs, and make that time off non-negotiable. If the person you are helping has the resources, work with them from the start to make a list of alternative helpers or even paid assistants to help you bear the load.

As Baby Boomers age, the elderly population in America is set to grow exponentially. This means that the Boomers’ children and grandchildren face more demands from elderly relatives and friends to help with daily living and caregiving chores. Helping a loved one is possible, but for your sanity and health, you must also try to create rest opportunities and healthy routines for yourself.

To receive more information about Anchorage Assisted Living that encompasses these care ideas, please contact us today!



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