January 21, 2020
Protecting your mental health is vital when you are a caregiver. These five tips can help.
Caring for a senior is rewarding work. It often gives the family elder and the caregiver an opportunity to reconnect and reminiscence. Adult children frequently move a loved one into their home, at least on a temporary basis, to make it easier to care for them. That time together may lead to memories that last a lifetime.
It’s important, however, not to overlook the tough aspects of caregiving. When you are responsible for another person’s health and well-being, the stress can be significant. So can the physical and emotional demands. If the senior has difficulty leaving the home, caregivers may find themselves feeling isolated and alone.
The pressures of the caregiving role may lead you to develop the blues, or a more serious case of depression. Finding ways to look after your mental health and emotional well-being is essential.
Practicing Healthy Self-Care While You Are a Caregiver
When you are run down from juggling too many responsibilities, it’s not just your physical health that deteriorates. Your mental health may also suffer. That’s just one of the many reasons caregivers need to stick to a healthy diet. While it might not seem possible when your schedule is already overbooked, eating a well-balanced diet will give you the energy you need to be a better caregiver.
This is an area where friends and family can pitch in. Lotsa Helping Hands makes it easy for loved ones to sign up to deliver meals to you. If you aren’t comfortable with that, consider using a home-delivered meal service like Sun Basket, Silver Cuisine, or Hello Fresh.
The old adage that laughter is the best medicine is a truthful one, especially when you are a caregiver. By staying in touch with people who make you laugh and boost your spirits, you may be able to prevent the caregiver blues or a bout with depression. In-person visits, at least once or twice a month, are best. In between, you can use video chat services or FaceTime to enjoy more meaningful talks with friends.
See the doctor
Family caregivers are notorious for neglecting their own health. If you’ve gotten away from having an annual physical and staying on track with important screenings, schedule an appointment with your doctor today. When you visit them, make sure to explain that you are a caregiver under considerable stress.
Don’t make the mistake of equating being busy with exercising. While caregivers usually have full schedules, they need to make time for exercise to avoid a health crisis. Walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, and tai chi offer both mental and physical benefits. It may be easier to work exercise in to your day if you break it up into 10- or 15-minute sessions two or three times a day.
Caregivers often feel that no one else will provide a loved one with the kind of care they can. This may lead them to turn down offers of help and to not explore professional senior care options. It’s vital to understand, however, that no one can do it all alone. Having a few hours of time to yourself will make you a better parent, spouse, employee, and caregiver. One solution to consider is respite care in an assisted living community. The senior will enjoy the same services as long-term residents, giving the caregiver time to take a break.
Respite Care at Legacy Senior Living
Respite care is often a great way to get to know an assisted living community. It gives the senior an opportunity to see if the community is a good fit while giving a weary caregiver time to relax and restore their own well-being. If you are a caregiver for a senior who lives in the Southeast, we invite you to visit a Legacy Senior Living community near you to learn more about our services.