Serving as a family caregiver for an older loved one is definitely an act of love. Even though it may certainly be rewarding, it can also swiftly become stressful, as a result of:
- The physical challenges of a chronic medical condition
- The cognitive challenges of Alzheimer’s disease
- Feeling helpless and struggling to address the older adult’s issues
- Feeling stretched too thin without the time for caring for yourself
- And countless other contributing factors
It is important for family care providers to set aside scheduled time every day to rest and recharge, and to help reduce stress. Still, prioritizing time to do this might seem impossible.
At Morning Glory Home Care, a provider of home care in Collinsville, IL and the surrounding areas, we know how much stress family members face when a senior loved one is in need of care and attention. Our services benefit not only the older adults we care for, but the rest of the family as well, allowing family caregivers to get much-needed time away. This family caregiver advice from our home care specialists can help decrease caregiver stress and restore peace:
- Take deep breaths. Deep breathing is a fantastic way for you to quickly calm an anxious heart. And you can do it anywhere, anytime! Just settle into a comfortable, seated position, and breathe in through your nose while counting silently to five. Next, breathe out through your nose, again while silently counting to five. Repeat as many times as needed until you are feeling more at peace.
- Think intentionally. Centering on the issues occurring right now is a normal impulse, but with some practice, it is possible to learn to intentionally shift your thinking to something more positive. In the middle of an overwhelming situation, the positives might not be easy to find, but they’re there nonetheless – even if they might be something as apparently insignificant as the beauty of the bouquet of flowers on the table, the words to your favorite song, or even the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.
- Be thankful. Meeting the care needs of another person is important work, work that is worthy of respect. It’s work that you would thank others for doing, but are you taking time to thank yourself? Often, family care providers beat themselves up in replaying all the mistakes they’ve made. Instead, notice the things you’re doing that undoubtedly help the one you love, and appreciate yourself for the kindnesses you’re showing.
- Work out regularly. Physical activity produces endorphins that give an all-natural boost to the mental outlook. If it’s hard to set aside time for a full exercise session, it is just as effective to break your exercise time up into smaller activities throughout the day. This might be as easy as parking your car in an area that’s farther from a shop entrance, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, or peddling on a stationary bike while talking to a loved one.
The easiest method to lower stress and achieve a healthy life balance, however, is by partnering with a trusted in-home care agency, like Morning Glory Home Care. It is not always easy asking for help; but caregiving is never supposed to be a one-person job.
Ongoing, regular respite care enables family caregivers to take routine time away for themselves, which generally makes them more patient and effective caregivers – a significant benefit for seniors. And, it gives older adults an added opportunity to socialize, with a fully experienced, kind and friendly caregiving companion.