Caring for an elderly parent can be as stressful as it is emotionally draining. It can be rewarding but it can also take a toll on your mental health.
Not surprisingly, data from the National Alliance for Caregiving/ AARP has found that about 50 percent of family caregivers describe themselves as experiencing some level of stress.
If this sounds like you, we’d like to provide you with some tips that may help you avoid caregiver burnout.
Research support groups
If you need help finding local resources and support groups, Family Caregiver Alliance has a tool that can help you do just that. You can also use the AARP’s website to chat with other caregivers who are in a similar situation.
Find ways to communicate with everyone in a way that’s effective
If your mom had surgery, it’s natural for your family members to want to be updated– but reaching out to everyone individually can be as exhausting as it is time consuming. If you’re not able to create a group chat using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, there are other services such as MyLifeLine.org, PostHope and CaringBridge that will allow you to send messages to everyone at the same time.
Take time for yourself
When you’re caring for a sick and/or elderly parent, you’ll want to make sure to stay connected with the positive people in your life. Take time to talk with close friends and family members; limit your interactions with people who are negative.
Remember to take breaks
Despite your best efforts, you won’t be able to sustain a 24/7 schedule forever. All caregivers need breaks and downtime. If you have family nearby that can help take over for several hours every week or to, use them. If you have friends who can help out from time to time, use them.
Organization is key
Lists and calendar reminders can be a great way to help you stay on top of responsibilities. Ask the person you’re caring for to help you make a list of where important documents are; that list should include things like their birth certificate, Social Security card, the deed to the house, safety deposit keys, marriage certificates and the location of their will/ trust. Be sure to include information about bank account and insurance records.
Remember, feeling overwhelmed at times is normal. At these times, you’ll want to take a minute for yourself, take some deep breaths and remember that your work is valuable.