As a family caregiver for an elderly loved one, you may find yourself thinking of your loved one every waking minute. You may be dreaming about taking care of them as well. Caregiving is more than a full-time job and often ends up taking over the life of the caregiver. This can lead to stress and negative health effects though. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, consider the following 3 ways to gain peace of mind as a caregiver. Allow yourself to not lose focus on you.
See Your Doctor
You are likely accompanying your loved one to their doctor appointments fairly often, but when was the last time you went to the doctor yourself? If you are overdue for an appointment, take the time to go. Have any nagging issues addressed. Get a thorough checkup. Discuss your current caregiving role and mention any feelings of depression or anxiety you are experiencing.
Focus on Your Health
Make sure you focus on your health as well as the health of your elderly loved one. Choose healthy foods and get enough sleep each night. Exercise regularly. All of these things are often overlooked when people are stressed, but are also the simplest ways to reduce stress and stay healthy. Take the time to focus on your own health every day.
Allow Yourself Time
Time may seem to be at a premium. It is important that you take the time to do the things that you enjoy doing, however. You need to continue to participate in activities and events that give you pleasure. Keep in touch with family and friends. Go out for coffee with a good friend. Watch your favorite TV show. Read a book. Allow yourself time to do the things that make you happy. You will be a better caregiver as a result. Many family caregivers say they just don’t have time to participate in their favorite activities.
Providing care for their loved one takes up all of the their time. If this is the case, you need a break. Consider asking friends and family to chip in and help you out. Many families find hiring a home health care aide allows the family caregiver the time they need to find balance in their lives.
Family caregivers face a high rate of stress and burnout. It is important to take the time to focus on caring for yourself as well as your loved one. For additional information about caregiving for elderly loved ones or to seek assistance from a home health aide, contact us.