Caregivers can become extremely important in the lives of elderly individuals. In fact, they can make all the difference in the quality of life that is enjoyed by seniors as they age and face health issues. At the same time, the job of a caregiver can be quite taxing and stressful.
The stress and emotional rollercoaster ride that comes with care giving are just two reasons why it is so important that caregivers take care of themselves – not just the people they are caring for.
As the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Elbert County, I make sure my caregivers are given the appropriate amount of time off work. During that time, I encourage them to get out of the care-giving mode and do some activities that they really love or enjoy.
If you are a caregiver for a loved one, make sure you take time for yourself. You can’t be effective if you spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week caring for someone – even if it’s your favorite parent or grandparent.
Make sure you do things that make you smile, whether it’s reading a book, taking a long bath, watching a funny movie, listening to your favorite music or participating in your favorite sport or hobby.
(I’ve got even more ideas on how to reduce your stress in my blog: “5 Tips for Reducing Stress While Caring for Aging Parents.”)
During the workday, however, it is much harder to get a break while you are tending to individuals who rely on you. So, I have several suggestions for caregivers who find themselves in a particularly stressful situation.
- Take a few deep breaths. Sometimes caregivers can get so caught up in the moment that they can’t seem to find a way out. As you take the deep breaths, it’s also helpful to acknowledge what you are feeling. Emotions can be contained, but they shouldn’t be ignored or denied. These deep breaths and acknowledgement will help you relax and handle the situation in a calm, effective manner.
- Focus on the current moment. As caregivers, we are often multi-tasking – whether it’s working from home or taking care of several individuals at once. If you can focus on the current moment – and nothing else – you’ll see that your stress levels will come down and you’ll be more productive. You’ll also get the added reward of actually enjoying that moment with the person you are helping.
- Make a cup of herbal tea. If you become overwhelmed, it is a good time to take a minute for yourself. A cup of herbal tea can help relax your nerves. While the water is heating up, take the time to stretch and relax your body. That’s always a good way to help release the stress you feel.
I’m hoping these few tips will help you enjoy the time you spend caring for a loved one. However, if you find that the job becomes too burdensome, you might want to consider an alternative.
There are many options available these days, including Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado. If you are interested, we’d be happy to give you a tour of our rural home at 1425 Debbie Circle so you can see first-hand the care that is provided.