When a parent reaches their senior years, declining physical and cognitive help will compromise their ability to care for themselves. The best solution often seems to be for the family to care for them to prevent the senior from having to move into an assisted living facility. However, when you take on this responsibility, it’s important to continue caring for your own needs as well.
Ask Other Family Members to Pitch In
You should never take on this responsibility by yourself. Even professional caregivers work limited hours and utilize support staff, so you shouldn’t force yourself to take on an even greater responsibility. Rely on your children, spouse, or others to help you care for an elder parent. Even asking family members to take on minor chores can give you the extra time you need to keep things in check.
Make Time for Yourself
You should have at least an hour to yourself every day. If you’re already thinking that you can’t spare an hour, that’s all the more proof that you need that period of self-care. During that hour, turn off your phone and get away from your regular responsibilities. What you do is your choice. You can meditate, go for a bicycle ride, or catch a movie. There aren’t any rules for this hour except that you should be relaxing and enjoying yourself.
Seek Emotional Support
There are many ways you can gain support from others, including formal support groups or getting together with close friends. Any situation in which you can freely discuss your situation and the stresses of caring for an elder parent will be helpful. You don’t always have to unburden your feelings when you get together with others. Sometimes, just having enjoyable conversations is enough to alleviate some of the stress you feel. However, one advantage in joining a support group is that you have the opportunity to learn from the insights of others.
As difficult as it is to accept, there will come a point at which your parent’s health decline creates a burden that’s too heavy for you to carry. Eventually, you will need to consider seeking professional assistance. If you feel too stressed or you’re constantly feeling frustrated, hiring a home care aide can help you alleviate this burden without forcing your senior parent to move into a nursing home.