When you made the decision to become a family caregiver for your elderly family member, you knew that you were committing your time, energy, effort, and resources to helping them to achieve and maintain the highest quality of life possible as they age in place. While you are making plans to support your parent’s happiness and health, it is crucial that you do not overlook your own needs. As a family caregiver, you are more vulnerable to stress and the potentially serious consequences associated with that stress than those who do not take on this role. Focusing on your own happiness and protecting yourself from serious stress and anxiety is a critical part of guarding your health and quality of life, and ensuring that you are able to give your loved one the best quality of care possible throughout their later years.
Use these tips to help you take care of your own happiness during your care journey:
• Give yourself permission. One of the most important steps that you can take to protect your happiness and seek a higher quality of life when you are caring for your parent is simply to give yourself permission to be happy. Many people feel that because they are a caregiver they should only think about their family member and their responsibilities toward them. This is not the case. Give yourself permission to be happy and think about yourself. This will help you to relax and experience a more enjoyable lifestyle.
• Plan time to yourself. When you are scheduling your care efforts for your parent, make sure that you plan time to yourself as well. Put this on your schedule just as you would anything else that you need to do so that you are sure to honor it. This does not have to be long stretches of time. Just an hour or two each week where you focus completely on yourself can make a tremendous difference to your mental and emotional health.
• Start a gratitude journal. Sometimes you just need a reminder of the wonderful things in your life to give you a boost. Start a gratitude journal and record the happy things that you experience each day. This can be as simple as hearing birds sing first thing in the morning or finding your favorite beverage on sale. Anything that gives you a bright spot in your life should be recorded so that you can then go back and read through these things whenever you need to feel happy again.
Starting elder care for your aging parent can be one of the best decisions that you can make for your elderly family member throughout the course of your caregiver journey with them. Being a family caregiver means that you want to make sure that their needs and challenges are met effectively, while being an adult child means that you want your senior to live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place. The highly personalized services of an elderly home care services provider can help you to achieve both goals. These services are designed specifically to address your parent’s limitations and challenges while also helping them to pursue a lifestyle that is as active, engaged, and independent as they can throughout their later years. By understanding your parent’s needs and their individuality, this care provider gives them the support, care, and assistance that they need to stay happy, healthy, safe, and comfortable, for a lifestyle that is fulfilling and right for your senior.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Bordentown, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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