When you’re a family caregiver, it’s easy for stress to build. You’re spending time on everyone else and ignoring yourself. When was the last time you had a moment to yourself? When your mom or dad naps and your kids go to school, are you frantically trying to do the laundry and dishes before they’re back?
One issue family caregivers face is time. There may not be enough hours in the day to do everything on the list. Showers and personal care can easily take an hour or longer if your parent is uncooperative. Meals and snacks eat up another hour or two.
Vacuuming, exercise, dishes, and tidying up add to your workload. If you also have a job, it may seem impossible to get it all done. That increases the stress you feel. It’s important to ease the stress to prevent excessive stress from impacting your health.
Research and Read New Studies
One way to make care easier is by researching the health condition your parent has. If your mom has Alzheimer’s, read as much as you can to understand what stage she’s in and what is coming up. If you’re prepared in advance, it’s easier to handle the changes as they arrive.
Read new studies, too. New medications may help ease some of your mom’s symptoms. If it helps her feel better, it will make things easier for you.
As questions arise, write them down. Take time each month to ask your parent’s doctor the things you’ve been wondering. If it’s an emergency, call the doctor. Otherwise, stick to the email system the doctor’s office has set up for patients.
Find a Support Group
Find a support group online or in a local hospital or senior center. Join it. It helps to surround yourself with others who are going through the same experiences.
Spend Time on a Favorite Hobby
Explore different hobbies and find one that appeals to you. Spend time on that hobby. Hobbies are a good way to ease stress, find enjoyment in the things you do, and may even help you make money on the side.
Most importantly, take breaks as often as you can. You don’t have to spend money on a vacation or day out. Let a homecare aide go to your parent’s house and help out. During that time, do something that brings you joy.
While you have a homecare aide working with your mom or dad, take a bubble bath, read a book, go for a walk, or focus on a favorite hobby. You need these breaks to ease stress and angst. Not only will it help you, but the improvement to your mood also helps your parent feel calmer.