Strategies To Stay Sane When Looking After An Elderly Relative

 

Looking after an elderly relative can be a challenge, especially if they’re one of your parents. After all, they were the ones who used to take care of you. Sometimes, the role reversal can be a shock to the system. Here’s how to cope.

 

Meditate

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Prayer or meditation can both really help to reduce anxiety, especially when you’re going through a difficult time with a loved one. Breathing deeply and slowly can help you to realize that the situation you’re going through right now is bigger than either you or your parent. Taking time to meditate provides a calming perspective – something many mom-come-carers need.

 

Be Kind To Yourself

 

One of the reasons carers get into trouble is that they become so focused on who they’re caring for that they forget to focus on themselves. As a result, the health of carers can deteriorate dramatically over a short period of time. Lack of proper sleep and nutrition can quickly take its toll, and some carers can become as ill as the people they are caring for.

 

This is one of the reasons why retirement communities are becoming increasingly popular in the US. Because looking after an elderly relative is such a burden – too much for any one person to do by themselves – it’s now something that is increasingly being shared by a community. Care workers, neighbours, and relatives all work together in a community to find the best solutions. This provides regular family carers with important time away from the person they’re caring for to gain a little perspective.

 

Help Them To Be Autonomous

 

One of the traps that many carers fall into is believing that there’s nothing that their elderly relative can do to look after themselves. Over time, the person being cared for starts to think this too, and both parties conspire to make life as difficult as possible for the carer.

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Promoting independent is important for many reasons. But perhaps the most important is the health and well-being of the person being cared for. Greater independence and activity among the elderly is associated with greater life satisfaction, better health, and longer survival. It also helps to reduce the burden on the carer too, which is always a good thing.

 

Parents Will Get Angry

 

Parents are used to being in a position of authority. But when the tables have turned, and now you’re the one calling the shots, they can feel anger and resentment. After all, you’re still their little girl. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for the inevitable lashing out. This is an unfortunate, and hopefully transient, part of looking after an elderly parent.

 

Get Your Spouse To Help

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Need a little help? Ask your spouse for some support. Perhaps they could do other jobs around the house while you care for your parent. Or maybe they could care for the parent instead of you. This might sound strange, but it’s actually pretty effective. Spouses usually don’t have all the emotional baggage you do when it comes to familial relationships.

 

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