Becoming a caretaker for elderly parents can happen gradually or suddenly. Unlike a child, they will get more dependent, not less, as time goes on, and this can happen at a time when your own energy reserves are beginning to wind down. So it pays to think from the outset about strategies to cope.
Put Your Own Needs First.
You take on a caring role because you are a caring person, even if you don’t always feel that way. So it goes against the grain to put your own needs first, but that is what you must do if you are to continue providing the care that is needed.
Young religious leaders are often told “as a minister your first responsibility is to your own soul,” and the same goes for caring—your parent needs you to be physically, mentally, and emotionally well, as much as you do.
One of the key skills to learn is when to say no—in the long run it saves much damage. And don’t neglect the things which give meaning and light to your life, like hobbies, music, outdoor life, reading, and friends.
Most people find they become caretakers without thinking too much about it—it comes naturally, or it starts as a result of a crisis. But when it is clear that a commitment is likely to be long term, then planning needs to happen.
Plan your respite weeks from the start. It is no good waiting until you are too desperate to think clearly, and knowing that in so many weeks’ time you are going to have a holiday can be a great boost for stamina.
Similarly, you should plan your free periods during each week; they need to be in the diary as soon as possible. Make lists of what you will need to do, for yourself and for your parent, and give yourself the satisfaction of ticking them off.
Being a caretaker can be a lonely business. It is easy to think you are the only person who can do what needs to be done, but you are probably wrong about that. You have friends who may want to help, so accept every offer that you possibly can while sharing the load fairly.
Of course, you will need support from medical professionals while having the security of knowing that help is available if things go wrong (for instance in Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers will take on a case where you believe you have been let down).
You may have brothers and sisters, but if it looks as if they are not pulling their weight early on don’t assume it will get better when the going is tougher—talk it through with them before you get so stressed that it becomes a major row. If you are in employment keep your employer aware of your situation and find out how flexible they can be.
In Short, Be Kind to Yourself
Caretaking can come in many forms, and it can be immensely rewarding. But it is a calling full of pressures, which can become overwhelming. While there is no foolproof protection, the earlier you get priorities and strategies in place, the better it is going to be.
Making your parents day brighter will make you feel better and will make their life better. If you have kids, be sure they bring a gift for grandma or grandpa when they visit. Get more info at Thatsweetgift.com Everyone loves a thoughtful gift, especially from their grandkids!