Stepping into a caregiving position for your loved one is a fulfilling and sometimes exhausting task. Between managing medication, doctor visits, and making sure your loved one stays mentally and physically well, it's a lot to juggle. While a rewarding experience, it can lead to caregiver burnout – a state of physical, emotional, and mental fatigue that can lead to anxiety and depression. Here are a few tips for the adult child caring for aging parents if you're feeling overwhelmed.
Make Time For Yourself
Depending on the needs of your loved one, caregiving is a part- or full-time job. It's essential to make time for self-care to rejuvenate yourself. Allow yourself breaks, time away, and time to unwind. If you're juggling a full-time job on top of caregiving, it's even more important to find small ways to take care of yourself daily.
Find Someone to Talk To
A difficult part of caregiving is the emotional stress that can come with it. If you're dealing with Alzheimer's or a similar memory disorder, it can cause frustration and sometimes hurt. Another mental condition to be mindful of is compassion fatigue, which is a state of secondhand shock. If you're noticing mood changes in other areas of your life, it is a major indicator of compassion fatigue. Find someone to talk to who can help you cope with the complex emotions that come with taking care of loved ones and navigating difficult situations.
Many adult child caregivers make the mistake of believing they will prevent, heal, or pause progressive diseases. They experience discouragement and a sense of hopelessness. You may need to talk to your loved one's doctor and be realistic with yourself about what is possible.
Ask for Help
There is only so much you are capable of. Don't be afraid to ask for help, seek out support groups, or consider other options. Take advantage of Respite Care services for short breaks. Careage has a handful of service options to help lighten the burden and improve your loved one's engagement.