Caregiving responsibilities are constant and time-consuming. Studies show caregiver stress is associated with high rates of depression and low personal health, so it’s important to take time to care for yourself.
Here are some ways you can reduce stress while juggling the challenges of caregiving:
- Share caregiving duties. Ask other loved ones to step in so you can have some respite. Family members can take on simple caregiving tasks like preparing meals and running errands for you or the loved one.
- Check out local community organizations that support seniors. Many organizations offer classes and activities geared toward older adults. These groups could be a great source of support for both your emotional health and caregiving duties.
- Think positive. Research found that a challenging life event can actually have positive effects on your mental health. Try to consider caring for an aging loved one as a privilege rather than a burden and it could improve your quality of life.
- Communicate with your loved one’s doctor. Introduce yourself to their care team and try to attend appointments with the older adult. Use this time as an opportunity to ask about supplementary health services that can help with time management.
- Ask if home care is an option. Bringing in a professional can also reduce stress. In-home assistance may include housecleaning, bathing and dressing, meal preparation, and/or medical assistance.
- Explore day programs designed for older adults. The Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) can provide specialty care, transportation, meals, and social activities all in one place. Many caregivers are relieved to know their loved one is surrounded by a qualified and committed medical team.
Caregiving can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Take steps to care for yourself in addition to your loved one.