Serving as a family care provider for an older adult is definitely an act of love. And even though it may certainly be rewarding, it may also quickly become overwhelming, as a consequence of:
- The physical challenges of a chronic health condition
- The cognitive challenges of dementia
- Feeling helpless and unable to fix the senior’s challenges
- Feeling overworked without enough time for caring for yourself
- And a number of other contributing factors
It’s very important for family caregivers to set aside planned time each day to rest and recharge, and to help combat stress. Yet prioritizing time to do this might seem impossible.
At At-Home Care Company, a provider of home health care services in Des Moines and nearby areas, we understand how much stress family members struggle with when a senior loved one is in need of care. Our services benefit not just the seniors we care for, but the rest of the family as well, allowing family care providers to get a needed break. These tips from our elder care professionals offer help for caregivers under stress:
- Take deep breaths. Deep breathing is a wonderful way to immediately calm an anxious heart. And you can do it anywhere, whenever you want! Simply settle into a comfy, seated position, and breathe in through your nose while counting silently to five. Then, breathe out through your nose, again while silently counting to five. Repeat as frequently as needed until you’re feeling more peaceful.
- Think intentionally. Concentrating on the issues occurring at the moment is a natural impulse, but with some practice, you can learn how to intentionally shift your thinking to something more positive. In the midst of a stressful situation, the positives may not be easy to find, but they’re there nonetheless – even if it’s something as apparently unimportant as the beauty of the bouquet of flowers on the table, the lyrics to your favorite song, or even the scent of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.
- Be thankful. Meeting the care needs of someone else is very important work, work that is certainly worthy of gratitude. It is work that you would thank anyone else for doing, but are you taking time to say thank you to yourself? Often, family care providers beat themselves up in replaying all of the mistakes they’ve made. Instead, notice the things you’re doing that genuinely help a family member, and appreciate yourself for the kindnesses you are showing.
- Exercise frequently. Physical activity produces endorphins that give a natural boost to our mental perspective. If it’s difficult to reserve time for a full exercise session, it’s equally effective to break your workout time up into smaller activities during the day. This could be as easy as parking your car in an area that is farther from a store entrance, choosing the stairs as opposed to the elevator, or peddling on a stationary bike while talking to a loved one.
The best way to lower stress and achieve a healthy life balance, however, is by working with a reliable in-home care provider, like At-Home Care Company. It is not always easy asking for help; but caregiving is never meant to be a one-person job.
Ongoing, regular respite care makes it possible for family caregivers to take routine time away for themselves, which in turn causes them to be more patient and effective caregivers – an important benefit for senior loved ones. And, it provides seniors with an added opportunity to socialize, with a fully experienced, kind and thoughtful caregiving companion.
We’re just a phone call away, and here to help you and the senior in your care any time with in-home respite care solutions. Reach out to us at 515-292-2650 to learn more about our home health services in Des Moines and surrounding areas. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.