When you make the decision to become a family caregiver for your elderly loved one, it is easy to get so focused on fulfilling their needs and ensuring that they living their highest quality of life that you forget to take care of yourself.
Keeping yourself healthy, however, is critical to not only preserving your own well-being but also making sure that you can be the best caregiver for your parent and the others that rely on you throughout this care journey. It is vital to make caring for yourself a part of your care routine just as you would any other element of your care for your parent.
Use these tips to keep yourself healthy on your caregiver journey:
Schedule time to yourself away from your care efforts. Keep this as you would any appointment and use the time to do something that you enjoy, even if it is just lying on the couch watching your favorite TV show
Make time to enjoy being with your partner. Date nights, running errands together, or just eating a meal together in the middle of the day gives you a chance to reconnect, relax, and ease your stress
Focus on eating a healthy diet. Being a caregiver can make you feel as though you are always on the run, and that can leave you relying on convenient food items. Rather than going through the drive-thru or eating other unhealthy options, pack snacks that will give you the nutrients that you need, such as nuts, fruits, sandwiches, cheese, and similar items
Establish a sleep schedule to ensure that you get the rest that you need to function and stay healthy
Practice germ control, including relying on respite care if you begin to feel ill so that you can get rest and washing your hands regularly
Making the decision to be a family caregiver for your aging parent can be one of the most fulfilling and meaningful decisions that you can make in your life.
It can also present you with a tremendous amount of stress and leave you feeling stretched thin and even overwhelmed. If you begin to feel this way, or you simply feel that your aging parent would benefit from more diverse care, now may be the ideal time for you to introduce home care into their routine. An in-home senior care services provider can step in to fill care gaps, handle potentially sensitive care tasks that you or your parent might be uncomfortable with you handling, and offer support and assistance that can encourage your parent to maintain more independence and activity as they age in place. These highly personalized services can help your parent to maintain a higher quality of life while also supporting your health, well-being, and quality of life as well.