When we think of the term caregiver, it’s hard not to define it as adult children taking care of their parents. It seems a natural course in life. As much as we don’t want them to, parents age. Roles reverse as they suddenly need their adult children like never before. But seniors caregiving, too is not uncommon. Roles don’t always reverse, and in some cases the senior is the caregiver, looking after the needs of a grown child who may be coping with long-term illness or disabilities.
Taking care of a sick adult can be quite stressful for a senior who may already have his/her own health issues to deal with. Here are three simple ways to help cope with the stress of becoming a caregiver in your golden years.
3 tips for seniors caregiving
Set aside some time a few times a week to get out. Connect with friends or family. Enjoy a meal out or participate in a group activity such as a card game. Being with wonderful, positive people will be a nice break from the stresses of everyday. This may also come in the form of joining a network of seniors who can empathize with your life situation. Bounce ideas off these new friends. Perhaps they have developed ways of reducing stress that you haven’t thought of.
Look After Yourself
Ask yourself this: If I’m not being good to myself, how can I be any good to my son or daughter? As important as being there for your sick child is, you need to look after your own needs, too. This means trying to get enough sleep and consuming a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. It also means making sure you’re being a proactive patient and attending to any medical needs you may have. For example, making sure prescriptions are filled and taken.
If you’ve never tried meditation, you are missing out. Meditation involves techniques that promote a state of relaxation and tranquility. It involves an internal effort to self-regulate in some way. If you’re religious, you can also incorporate prayer into your meditation. It is all about finding a quiet spot and being one with your thoughts. Try to set aside some time to step away and be alone and calm. It will do your body and mind good to be in a peaceful state.
Caregivers need support too, and when that caregiver is a senior, some extra TLC may be needed to ensure burnout doesn’t happen. Pay attention to the needs of your own body, mind and soul while you care for your beloved son or daughter. You’re worth it, too.