Many times our role as a care giver starts out at a reasonable pace. We begin to juggle our lives to find the time it takes to care for an aging parent or an ill spouse. We feel good about what we’re doing and know it’s the right thing. But usually at some point, care giving becomes more than we bargained for. As our loved one needs more care, we begin to neglect our own needs. The downward spiral begins – first we try harder, then we get frustrated which leads to resentment, anxiety, depression . . . and guilt. If you’re experiencing any of these emotions I want you to stop a minute and consider a few things.
You are very important to your loved one. If you begin to neglect yourself, the chances are very good that you’ll suffer an illness and twice as likely as a non-caregiver to become depressed. If you become ill or depressed, how will you continue to give the care your loved one needs? You won’t!
Taking care of the caregiver – You! You need plenty of rest, exercise and socializing. It’s imperative to maintain your mental and physical health. When we neglect these aspects of life, we compromise everything. If we don’t take the time to care for ourselves, our attitude suffers. If we want to continue to care with a good and loving attitude, we must take care of our own needs.
Get help! – Reach out for help where you are. Family, friends and neighbors are often overlooked when we go into caregiver’s mode. Let your network of family and friends know that you need some help.
- One afternoon each week, have one of them relieve you so you can meet a friend for lunch or take in a movie.
- Ask a neighbor if they would sit in for you for just an hour or two, while you take a walk or run some errands.
- Many communities have adult day care programs at senior centers which have great activities for your loved one to participate in while you get a break.
- Once a month, you need to get away. If a relative or friend is not available, respite care is available at most assisted livings.
- Or you may decide to have in-home care give you a night off.
When you are well-cared for, then you can continue to give your loved one what they need without the guilt. Your good attitude will make a positive effect on them as well.
If you need help with care giving, or any other eldercare issue please take a look at our comprehensive service offering or contact our Geriatric Care Coordinator here at BrightStar Naperville/Oak Brook, who may be able to give you some additional tips and insights, as to how deal with changes in your aging parent(s).
BrightStar Healthcare – Oak Brook
1415 W 22nd St
Oak Brook, IL 60523