Are you a caregiver to one or both of your parents, or likely to become one? The best way to survive what is sure to be a task filled with challenges is to take care of yourself, and knowing what to expect, so that you can better care for them.
Caregiving can be a stressful an demanding endeavour.
Based on Elaine K Sanchez’s book, Letters from Madelyn: Chronicles of a Caregiver, here are 11 tried and true survival tips:
1. Set aside some time each day for yourself.
Set aside some time each day for yourself. Having something to look forward to will help ease your stress.
2. Get the right equipment.
Get the right equipment. As with any job, having the right tools will protect you from unnecessary strain or injury.
3. Go outside.
Go outside. Let the sights, sounds, and smells of nature lift your spirits.
4. Learn something new.
Learn something new. Even if you are confined physically, there is no limit to how far your mind can go.
5. Stay socially active.
Stay socially active. Participating in respite care programs and visiting with friends and family can help prevent depression and illness brought on by isolation.
6. Look for humour in absurd situations and redefine fun.
Look for humour in absurd situations and redefine fun. When faced with something that is difficult or frustrating, ask yourself, “Is there anything funny about this?” Also, seek new ways to bring joy and interest into your life.
7. Savour happy memories.
Savour happy memories. Recall a specific occasion when you were happy and focus on recapturing the positive, loving feelings it evokes.
8. Find a safe release for negative emotions.
Find a safe release for negative emotions. Accept that you will not always feel and act as loving and kind as you would like. When experiencing extreme stress, get active—exercise, breathe deeply, write a rant, listen to music, call a friend, or scream into a pillow. Letting off a little steam can be a very good thing.
9. Accept help.
Accept help. It is often much easier to give than to receive. If someone offers home care help, understand that he/she is giving you a gift. Accept it graciously.
10. Develop your spiritual side.
Develop your spiritual side. You may find comfort in faith. You may find it in music, meditation, or nature. If there is something that ignites your spirit, explore it, embrace it and let your soul soar.
11. Accept that death is a part of life.
Accept that death is a part of life. Talking openly about death can help relieve your fear and allow you to tell your loved one everything you want him or her to know. Then when the end comes, you will grieve the loss, but you will not have regrets about things left unsaid.
Let us know your comments. Do you have any tips to add to the list?
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care