by A. Grano on April 19th, 2011 at 7:00 am
With the aging population growing, more and more families are feeling the stress that accompanies providing part-time geriatric support or reaching full-time caregiver status. For many adult children finding themselves in the new position of caring for their parents, the transition can be both physically and emotionally draining.
Going from an already busy schedule consisting of caring for one’s own children, job, chores and obligations to taking on the additional large responsibility of caring for an aging parent leaves little personal time and creates a high risk for burnout.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed and alone, but there is an entire community of others in this same situation! With a little planning and perspective, you can find balance and maintain your own health – a critical element you must consider. Remember, to be a good caretaker, you must first take care of yourself.
Tips for caregivers
- Find support any way you can. Ask or look for help from neighbors, family, or your local congregation or community center. There are many adult daycare centers that can enable busy caregivers to find respite time to take care of personal obligations. In addition, there are targeted support groups for many health conditions, such as for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
- Make time for personal time. Guilt is the number one reason most people do not take time out for themselves. However, if your own health begins to fail because you slack on sleep, exercise, or a healthy diet, your caretaking abilities will suffer as well. Learn to say no – you are doing everyone a favor!
- Get organized. Taking on the extra responsibilities of managing your parent’s doctor appointments, medical bills, etc. is no doubt time-consuming. Take time to plan out each week so you can have an at-a-glance view of everything upcoming. If you’re waiting at an appointment, utilize that time in productive ways. Consolidate your errands so that you’re not frantically scrambling every day. Many tasks can wait a day or two.
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