It’s the last thing many of us expected to be doing, and yet as our population ages, more and more of us find ourselves as the primary caregivers for our elderly parents, often before our own kids have even left the nest.
While most of us are happy to take care of our parents, the job can be grueling and exhausting and –let’s face it – thankless. Here are a few tips on how to cope.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Of course, it’s important to get enough sleep. It’s also essential to spend an hour every day doing something you enjoy. This time is necessary for you to de-stress and maintain your mental and physical health; otherwise, you won’t be able to keep up your care giving duties for very long.
- Take advantage of respite care. Find out where the respite care services in your community are located, and use them. Every few months, it’s important to have a break for a few days. If money is an object, investigate your parent’s Medicaid benefits. You’re entitled to have a respite caregiver relieve you periodically.
- Enlist the help of siblings, and even close family friends. Don’t feel that you have to do it all alone.
- Look into adult daycare – this service can provide you much-needed relief, while expanding your mom or dad’s social life and generally reducing everyone’s stress.
- Join a support group for caregivers.