Taking Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Your Parent
There are many rewards that come with taking care of your elderly parent and helping him live in his home.
You’ll discover things you never knew about your parent, and also have the opportunity to spend quality time with him. You may see it as a way to finally repay all the care and love he bestowed upon you as you were growing up or you may view it as a time to reminisce together and learn about family history. And while the benefits and blessings of being a caregiver are numerous, it can also be exhausting, taxing, and emotionally draining. For those reasons, it’s important that you take care of yourself as well.
Taking care of yourself can be as easy as 1-2-3, but you need to make a concerted effort to do all three of these self-care items to remain in a healthy spot to care for your aging parent.
1. Keep Yourself in Good Health.
It can be hard to practice healthy living habits while being pulled in a thousand directions. But, because you’re being pulled in a thousand directions as a caregiver of an aging parent, it’s all the more important. Eating healthy, fresh food is just a start — you’ll need to make sure you actually eat! With so much running around, it can be hard to schedule mealtimes, but staying on a regular eating schedule of fresh and nutritious food will go a long way in giving you the energy you need to care for your parent. Exercising daily, getting enough sleep, and visiting your own doctor regularly are also important parts of keeping yourself in good health.
2. Schedule Breaks for Yourself.
Between running errands, working at your job, following through on important conversations, and helping your parent with day-to-day living, it might seem crazy to schedule some downtime for yourself. But making sure you have time to relax and unwind is an important part of ensuring you’ll be ready to spend time with your parent as your best self. So, go ahead, schedule that massage, or plan a night out on the town with your spouse. It’ll help you be a better caregiver to your parent.
3. Ask for Help.
Providing care for your aging parent is a lot of work that requires many hands. You might feel guilty that you can’t do it all yourself, but asking others for help may actually be a blessing to them, as well as a relief for you. Do you struggle to make sure your parent eats well? Ask a sibling who loves to cook to prepare some home-made freezer meals once a month to keep stocked up in your parent’s freezer. Can you simply not find the time to wash the windows, scrub the floors, and vacuum? Consider hiring a Home Care provider to assist in the household chores so you can then find the time to go for a little walk with your parent or sit and play a game of cards.
Providing care for your aging parent living in his home or apartment can be a lot of work, but with the proper boundaries and help, you will find it worth every bit of effort.