If you are an adult child who recently stepped into the role of caregiver for a senior loved one, navigating your new way can be challenging. Between struggling with time management and trying to set new priorities, the stress of caregiving can add up over time and eventually take a toll on your health.
But if you take the time now to get organized and to explore what local senior care resources are available to you, it can prevent a lot of frustration and anxiety in the days ahead.
Create a Schedule
Most people don’t have the “luxury” of solely being a caregiver to a loved one. Most caregivers work outside the home, have family commitments, community obligations and a social life. Creating a regular weekly schedule will not only help you better plan your life, but it will also help to set up some initial boundaries between you and your aging loved one.
Having a set routine also has the added benefit of reducing anxiety in your loved one. Without knowing when you will next return, they might barrage you with phone calls and demands. When they know what to expect, however, they can feel more at ease.
Ask For Help
Many caregivers, especially women, feel the need to do everything on their own. Remind yourself often that there is no shame in asking for help. Lean on your spouse, friends or religious advisor for support and don’t be shy about calling in favors should you need them.
You can also find websites and blogs geared towards educating and helping caregivers of aging parents. The Five Star Living blog
is a helpful resource for Indiana caregivers and it is updated several times each week with the latest research and news on aging.
Commit to “Me-Time”
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your caregiving duties that you stop making time for yourself. Giving up “me-time” is a common mistake new caregivers make. Don’t feel guilty about wanting to have some time to yourself--it’s essential for helping you recharge, relax and stay healthy.
And it doesn’t have to be a full day. Commit to 15 - 20 minutes each day that are only for you, and use it however you’d like! Some ideas to help you recharge include:
Consider Respite Care
- Take a hot bath
- Read a book
- Take a walk
- Listen to music
If at any point in your role as a caregiver you begin to feel overwhelmed or want to take a vacation, there are options out there to help you. Five Star Senior Living communities in Indiana offer respite care
for this exact purpose. Whether your loved one is coming to stay for a week or a month, Five Star treats each short-term respite resident with the same compassion and commitment offered to full-time residents.
The Challenge of Caregiving
Whether you are new to your caregiving role, or a veteran caretaker, there will always be challenges you face in this journey.
The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and there are resources available to provide you with support!