Author: Lucille Rosetti, Thebereaved.org Photo Credit: Pexels.com
Providing care to a senior and helping them make the most of their golden years can be extremely rewarding. However, taking care of another person’s day-to-day needs can also be a big job. Senior caregivers run the risk of burning out if they don’t take time for themselves. This guide provides tips on how to maintain a high level of caregiving without neglecting your personal or professional lives.
Make at least 15 minutes of time for self-care every day
As a caregiver, it’s natural that you want to prioritize your charge’s needs. However, you still need to maintain self-care. Carve out at least 15 minutes of every day where you focus only on yourself. You might do things like enjoy a cup of coffee, eat a healthy snack, do some stretching, reach a chapter of a book, or write in a journal. The point is to do a task that has no goal but is just about your enjoyment.
Hire services to help you stay on top of everything
If you’re still struggling to juggle your tasks as a caregiver with your personal and professional worlds, it may be time to seek extra help. Providers like the Arizona In Home Care Association offer the resources you need. You can hire in-home support short-term or for an extended period. Also, consider hiring professionals to help with non-care related tasks, such as landscapers, house cleaners, and meal delivery providers.
Get proactive about practicing stress-busting techniques
Balancing caregiving with a professional and personal life is a lot to handle. It’s bound to be stressful. Get proactive about tackling stress head-on. There are many ways you can do this, from practicing meditation to exercising. It’s also helpful to spend time outside, as green spaces can help alleviate stress. Find a technique that works for you and implement it when you notice stress arising.
Maintain a healthy diet and exercise to stay fit yourself
A nutritious diet and regular exercise are essential to maintaining your well-being as a caregiver. That said, finding the time for diet and exercise is tough when you’re caregiving. Weight and Wellness provides a simplified self-care plan you can use. For example, instead of trying to prepare three large meals per day, opt for smaller portions more frequently, like five or six times per day. For exercise, try home workouts like these from Fatherly.
Establish a strong support network to fall back on
The job of a caregiver can be emotionally draining. It’s important to realize that you aren’t going it alone. Talk to family and friends if you’re struggling, and seek professional mental health support if needed. You can also join caregiver support groups, such as those offered by The Caregiver Action Network or The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. This allows you to connect with people who understand what you’re going through.
Don’t forget to make time to pursue your own dreams
When you’re caregiving, it’s easy to get lost in your charge’s needs. However, make sure you don’t forget your own dreams. For example, you might parlay your love of helping people into a new career path, using your caregiving to feed your professional aspirations. A degree in a field like nursing is a logical next step. You can study topics like healthcare management, health services coordination, and nursing online, giving you great flexibility.
If you’re a senior caregiver, you want to do all you can to ensure you’re doing the best job possible. However, to do this, you also have to take care of yourself. Trust the tips above to help you balance caregiving, work, and your personal life.