Sunday, February 1, 2009

Caring For Parents: You Can't Neglect Yourself!

Taking Care Of Parents & Yourself!

Caregiving is a tremendous responsibility.
When you're providing care to aging parents,
it's even more so.

Like so many experiences, no one can really
appreciate the work involved unless they have
walked in your shoes.

And don't forget the physical and emotional
toll acting as a caregiver will take on you.
In order to provide good care to your loved
one, you have to take good care of yourself.
This means NOT putting your own needs

This is the hard part, I know. But if you are
not at your best, you simply can not give your
aging parent the care they deserve.

And don't feel guilty! Strange coming from me.
I still feel guilty and Mom passed away in 2006!
In this case, learn from my mistakes.

It's okay to admit that taking care of parents
can be a burden. There are family dynamics
at play. Any issues of the past have a way of
popping up while dealing with elderly parents.

Admit to yourself that you can’t do everything alone.
You need to have the time and space to take of

It wasn't until things got really bad for me that
I finally opened up to my doctor. That was when
he initiated home care. Talk about a blessing.

There are also support groups out there you
could join. I realize this may mean having someone
stay with your parent, but so be it. Consider
talking to a therapist as well.

Get other family members or friends on board
so you can get a much needed break. Ask them
to help you cook dinners. Ask them to come over
and sit with your family member for awhile so you
can get out and visit friends, do some shopping, see a
movie – whatever you enjoy doing.

If there are siblings involved, they will stop assuming
that you’ll shoulder the responsibility all alone and step
up and take some of the burden off of you more and more.

If there simply isn’t anyone you can ask for help, then
carve out time for yourself the best way you can.
Get frequent exercise, carve out a time in the day
where you get to do whatever you want, even if you
simply spend some quiet time reading or taking a bath.

Likewise, give yourself a break on the little things. Hire
a cleaning team, or evaluate whether or not you’re doing
more housekeeping than you need to. Find a good takeout
service that you can use when you need a break from
cooking. Don’t take on additional favors for family and
friends – learn to say no.

Caregivers have a history of falling into depression,
alcohol abuse and other problems. You need to look
after yourself so you stay healthy. It may feel selfish to
you at the time but every break you take is an act of
love for the person you care for – you need to feel your
best to treat them with the compassion and care you
want them to have.

Caregiver stress is a major problem. Nip it in the bud
before it gets the best of you.

Taking Care Of Parents & Yourself!