Serving as a family caregiver for an older adult is truly an act of love. And while it may certainly be rewarding, it can also quickly become overwhelming, as a consequence of:
- The physical complications of a chronic medical condition
- The cognitive challenges of Alzheimer’s disease
- Feeling helpless and unable to resolve the senior’s problems
- Feeling overworked without sufficient time for taking care of yourself
- And many other contributing factors
It is very important for family caregivers to set aside planned time each day to recover and recharge, and to help combat stress. Nevertheless, prioritizing time for you to do so might seem impossible.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, a local provider of award-winning Oakville home care and care in the surrounding communities, we recognize how much stress family members take on when a senior loved one is in need of care and attention. Our services benefit not just the seniors we care for, but the rest of the family as well, allowing family care providers to get a needed break. These tips from our home care experts can help alleviate caregiver stress and restore peace:
- Take deep breaths. Deep breathing is a wonderful way to quickly calm an anxious heart. And you can do it anywhere, at any time! Simply settle into a comfy, seated position, and breathe in through your nose while counting silently to five. Next, release your breath through your nose, again while silently counting to five. Repeat as many times as required until you’re feeling more at peace.
- Think intentionally. Concentrating on the difficulties occurring at the moment is a natural reaction, but with some practice, you will be able to learn how to intentionally shift your thinking to something more uplifting. In the middle of a stress-filled event, the positives might not be easy to find, but they are there nonetheless – even if it’s something as apparently insignificant as the beauty of the centerpiece on the table, the lyrics to your favorite song, or the scent of banana bread baking in the oven.
- Thank yourself. Meeting the care needs of a loved one is important work, work that is worthy of respect. It’s work that you would thank someone else for doing, but are you taking time to appreciate yourself? Often, family care providers are hard on themselves when replaying all of the mistakes they’ve made. Instead, acknowledge the things you are doing that truly help the one you love, and value yourself for the kindnesses you’re showing.
- Work out often. Physical activity produces endorphins that provide an all-natural boost to the mental outlook. If it’s difficult to set aside time for a full exercise session, it’s just as effective to break your exercise time up into smaller activities throughout the day. This may be as easy as parking your vehicle in an area that is farther from a store entrance, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, or peddling on a stationary bike while chatting with a loved one.
The best method to lower stress and achieve a healthier life balance, however, is by partnering with a dependable in-home care agency, like Compassionate Nursing Services. It’s not always easy asking for help; but caregiving is not supposed to be a one-person job.
Ongoing, regular respite care makes it possible for family caregivers to take time away for themselves, which in turn causes them to be more patient and effective caregivers – a significant benefit for seniors. And, it gives seniors an added socialization opportunity, with a fully trained, kind and friendly caregiving companion.
Need more caregiver tips? Our Oakville home care experts are just a phone call away, and here to assist you and your senior loved one any time with award-winning in-home respite care services. Give us a call at 314-432-4312 for more information. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.