Tips for Reducing the Stress of Caring For an Aging Parent

While caring for aging parents can be emotionally challenging, there are ways to lighten the burden. Here are a few tips for dealing with stress that might help reduce some of the pressure you may be feeling.

Think about how you can best serve your parent’s needs. For example, if your parent can stay at home but would like assistance with things like grocery shopping or laundry, offer to run errands, or make an appointment for them at their nearby supermarket.

You might also invite friends over, so they don’t feel so alone in the evenings.

The key is discovering what they enjoy doing and then trying to incorporate it into your caregiving routine as much as possible.

Coping with the Emotional Strain of Caregiving

Care-giving to an elderly parent or relative can be difficult and have a big impact on the emotions of adult children or other affected loved ones.

Feelings can range from guilt, especially if you are considering getting in help such as home care, to anger and resentment at others who you perceive may not be helping as much as they could. Recognizing these feelings and addressing them is vital.

Here are a few ways you can reduce the stress on all sides

Find Support Groups or an Adapted Therapist

There are support groups through churches, senior centers, hospices, and other organizations that can help you cope with the emotional strain of caregiving.

Be sure to contact them before your parent becomes ill or dependent on you.

Finding the right group for your situation will also make it easier for you to discuss your feelings with others who are facing similar challenges.

A good therapist is well versed in how to ease the emotional tension associated with caregiving and can provide valuable guidance on how to best manage the stress involved in this type of life change.

Take Care of Yourself. Practice Self-Care Everyday

Looking after yourself is a really important part of caring for someone else.

Even if you are in a position to provide for your parent, you will still need to rest, eat well, and get exercise.

Find ways to relax such as reading a good book or watching a favorite TV show.

Also, make sure that you practice self-care every day no matter how many responsibilities you may have. It will be much easier to keep up the home fires when you know that your loved one is getting the care they need.

Reduce Your Own Expectations of Your Parent’s Abilities

Don’t expect your parent to always be able to do everything they used to. Find out what they can comfortably do and go from there.

Maybe you can cut back on household chores and take care of the things your parent doesn’t want to do anymore.

Sometimes, it’s best simply to listen while they talk about their day so that your mind doesn’t wander as you are taking care of them. If your parent is in denial about the condition they are in, it will help if you gently try to redirect them toward more realistic goals.