How to Avoid Burnout When Caring for an Ailing Parent
By Kara Masterson
Your parents are the ones who gave you life. They nurtured and placed you in a position to thrive. Knowing this, it’s really helpful when you’re in a position to help them as they age or get sick. Unfortunately, caregiving can be one of the most taxing experiences a person can ever go through. Thankfully, there are ways you can get through the experience without burning yourself out. Consider the following tips.
Create a schedule
Reach out to family members and friends who you and the patient trust. Ask them if they are willing to sit with the patient for a few hours. Even if you’re able to ask four people to help out twice a month, you’ll at least be able to get away twice a week without burning any one person out. If you’re able to secure even more people to help, that’s even better. Even if you ask ten different people to each take one shift throughout the month, that’ll take a significant load off of your back.
Maintain a self-care regimen
Self-care is becoming a practice that’s talked about more because it’s imperative for your overall health. Self-care doesn’t just mean that you need to go get a massage. In fact, it’s some of the practical habits like heading to the gym four to five times a week and drinking lots of water. Do your best to get enough rest, and eat fruits and vegetables. As you maintain these habits, your body will support you through all of the tasks you need to handle.
Do something indulgent every day
If you treat each day like it’s just another random day, you’ll miss out on the joy you can experience just by being alive. Instead, find ways to indulge yourself each day. When your parent is asleep, take that time to do some yoga moves. Enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the sunset. Visit the thrift store to pick out a few pieces at a price that won’t break the bank. Give yourself a mani/pedi. It’s the little things that count.
Research assisted options
Being a caregiver means that you will have to be there in the healing process. This will mean helping recovery from intrusive studies and post op from cataract or hip surgeries. There is no need for your loved one to suffer needlessly with the technology and medicine available to ease the transitional period post op. Whether your parent is in their post-operative process with sustained release cataract surgery steroids or they’re on painkillers to manage pain, it’s wise to do your research to find medical assistance and follow the medical instructions properly. You will want to set alarms to make sure they take their medicine so they are as comfortable as possible. Many insurance providers include caretaking assistance that you can use for free. There are also foundations that will offer financial assistance to cover those types of expenses so that you don’t have to bear the brunt of the responsibility on your own.
Don’t underestimate the responsibility of being a caregiver. You can lose yourself in the process when you’re not intentional. There are many reports that warn caregivers about falling into the trap of being consumed with the one who is sick and neglecting their own needs. It’s not uncommon for a caregiver to die before the patient due to the stress. If you adopt these tips for yourself, you’ll set yourself up for success in the long run.