How do you find balance in your life when you’re also caring for elderly parents? This is a common question that many people have and struggle with. Self care for caregivers is just as important as caring for those in need who are living under your roof. Recognizing that you cannot do it all on your own, and prioritizing self care as much as possible is a great place to start.
Here are some self care ideas for caregivers.
5 self care tips for caregivers of elderly parents
1. Set necessary boundaries. Nobody can do everything, and that includes you. That doesn’t mean you’re not doing a great job! Setting boundaries is a critical part of any challenging situation, especially because not having boundaries can easily lead to overwhelm, burnout, and frustration for everyone. You and your own family come first. This doesn’t mean that your parent will be neglected by any means, it just means that finding balance without your household is essential.
2. Create a schedule. This will help with predictability and having a clear understanding of your roles and responsibilities. Self care activities for caregivers of aging parents is important for your mental well-being, just as much as it is for those around you. For instance, maybe you want to exercise three days per week or take a sewing class every Wednesday or have coffee with a friend on Friday mornings. Sometimes outlining your week on a calendar can help make sure you schedule these important times in for yourself.
3. Communicate regularly. Having a plan that everyone can agree upon and expectations that everyone is aware of in the household is important, especially when things come up and plans may change. Communicating feelings of stress, frustration, and guilt are important, as are feelings of gratitude, pride, and excitement. Maintaining an open and honest dialogue with members of your household will reduce added stressors as much as possible.
4. Release any feelings of guilt. Again, you can’t do everything, don’t put those expectations on yourself. You need to put yourself and your family first, and allow any feelings of guilt about what you can or can’t do to dissipate.
5. Seek a support system. One of the best sources of self care for family caregivers is a support system. This may be some close friends who have shared experiences, or finding a support group in your community made of up people with common ground with senior care. Having each other to lean on and provide advice and encouragement to is a great way to keep morality up and let go of any guilt or frustration you may be feeling. These are often an excellent place to find guidance, too.
Keeping all of these things in mind as you care for yourself, your family, and your elderly parent are an essential part of being a caregiver. You are not alone, and this will not last forever. You’re doing a great job, so try to find that balance and support needed to enjoy this season.