As your parents get older, their health has changed. That’s making it harder for them to handle every chore or care task independently. When they need help, who provides the bulk of their care needs? Is it you or another family member? Does that family caregiver get the necessary breaks to be able to focus on self-care?
The Importance of Self-Care
Any family caregiver has to learn it’s okay to put their needs first. The 2020 Caregiving in the U.S. report from AARP found that 59% of unpaid caregivers did not rate their health as being higher than “good.” Only a tiny percentage felt their overall health was “excellent.”
The more hours a family caregiver invests in caring for a parent or other family member, the lower they rated their health. This includes mental and physical health. People who fill the role of the family caregiver are more likely to feel stressed. That prolonged stress can lead to anxiety and depression.
Self-care is essential. As a family caregiver, you have to take time to socialize, enjoy your favorite activities, and keep up with medical and dental check-ups. If you have any health issues, it’s easier to address them in the early stages.
Have You Talked to Others in the Family?
Has your family sat down to discuss the care your parents need? If you’re providing the bulk of their daily care, do you have siblings who could chip in? If your sister provides all of the care, you need to look over your schedule and see where you can help out.
You also need to make sure that your parents are supported in a way that promotes their independence. If your mom stopped cooking because she can’t slice vegetables and meats due to arthritis pain, maybe a food processor or shredding/slicing attachment for her stand mixer would make it easier for her to cook again.
Your dad may have stopped doing the laundry because the basement stairs are dark, and he’s afraid of falling. Brighter lighting and a sturdy handrail may be all that’s needed to get him back to doing his own laundry. You might be able to move the machines upstairs to a kitchen or bathroom and eliminate the need to go downstairs.
Research the Benefits of Caregivers
Have you researched companion care at home services? This is one of the best ways to make sure family caregivers have time to focus on their own needs. While a caregiver helps your parents with meals and housekeeping, others are free to run errands, sleep in, or go for a long walk.
Scheduling companion care at home is easy. Pick up the phone, talk to a specialist in companion care, and book services.