BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Caring for sick or elderly parents is a responsibility that many adult children view as a privilege.
Eager to give back to loved ones who’ve been there for them in the past, they hope to fulfill their duties with kindness and deep care.
But more often than not, caregivers find themselves struggling to balance work, life, and other family obligations with efforts to oversee the care of infirmed or elderly parents.
This leads many to wonder how they can maintain their own health and wellness while taking on the added role of caregiver.
#1 Get regular physical activity.
The many responsibilities that come with overseeing the medical needs of a sick family member can be exhausting and leave a caregiver drained of energy.
Experts say that regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, even in small increments, can boost your energy levels. Walking around the yard for about thirty minutes a day can be a great way to give energy levels the kickstart they need.
#2 Meet with other caregivers and self-help groups for support.
Sharing the challenges and even humorous moments that one experiences as a caregiver with people who empathize can bring a sense of relief.
Joining support groups for caregivers can ease feelings of loneliness and provide them with an opportunity to share what they’ve learned while also learning from the experiences of other caregivers.
#3 Keep humor in your life.
Experts suggest making a concerted effort to add some humor to your life every day. This can be accomplished by watching a funny television program or enjoying a performance by one of your favorite comedians.
#4 If you have kids, get them involved.
The Caregiver Foundation suggests letting children help out, where possible and appropriate. It says, “Encourage them to join in family tasks that involve the elder. Foster inter-generational sharing.”
This not only helps to lighten the amount of tasks that may have once landed squarely on your shoulders alone, but can also help your children forge a bond with their grandparent.
#5 Take an occasional break from your routine.
Heart.org says, “At least once a week, break out of your routine and go somewhere enjoyable. Visit the local coffee shop, attend religious events, take a class, visit a friend or just wander around the mall. If your loved one needs constant attention, ask for help. It’s likely that someone will be happy to give up an hour or two a week so that you can get out for a breath of fresh air.”
By making time for self-care and asking other family members to pitch in and assist where possible, caregivers can maintain their own health and wellness while seeing to the needs of aged or infirmed loved ones.