In-Home Care – Taking Care of Yourself

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,298
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care provides some tips for how to help you balance work and in-home care. This video focuses on ways to unwind and cope.

    Mary Alexander: Hi, I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. And today I am talking about how to balance work and in-home care. And in this video I am going to give you ways to unwind and cope.

    Most caregivers struggle to balance care giving for an aging parent or relative with other major responsibilities, including jobs and caring for young children. This often means that there is little time to care for themselves, which can result in poor health and high levels of stress. However, if you don't take care of yourself, you will never be able to continue taking care of your loved one. This means eating right, getting adequate rest, building exercise into your schedule and keeping up with your own medical appointments. Let's talk about some of these in specifics.

    When exercising, do something you like to do, like walking, dancing, biking, running or swimming for minimum of twenty minutes at least three times per week. Consider learning a stress management exercise, such as Yoga or Tai Chi, which teach inner balance and relaxation. Meditate, sit still and breathe deeply with your mind as quiet as possible. When everything feel like they are moving too quickly, or you are feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a caregiver, many times you'll feel like you don't have a minute to yourself. But it's important to walk away and to take that minute.

    Ask for help. According to a national survey conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care Network, 72% of adults who are currently providing care for an aging loved one, do it without any outside help. To avoid burnout and stress, you need to enlist the help of other family members, friends or consider hiring a professional caregiver for assistance. Don't feel bad or guilty for reaching out. The next thing you can do for yourself is to take a break, make arrangements for any necessary fill-in help that includes family, friends, volunteers or professional care giving services. Take a day or even a week's vacation; just make sure you line up your support system, so you can be confident that your loved one is happy and safe. And when you are away, stay away, talk about different things, read that book you haven't been able to get to. There is no excuse, not to.

    Another way to help ease your stress as a family caregiver is to make sure to eat well. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins including nuts and beans and whole grains. Indulging in caffeine, fast food and sugar as quick pick me ups, also produce a quick let down. Take care of yourself. Just like you make sure your loved ones gets to the doctor regularly, make sure you get your annual check up. Being a family caregiver provides many excuses for skipping your necessary check-ups, but don't do it. Indulge. Treat yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert, to take yourself away from the situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing to your aging relatives. You shouldn't feel guilty about wanting to feel good. Support, find a local caregiver support group that will help you understand that what you are feeling and experiencing is normal for someone in your position. This is a place to get practical advice from people who are in your situation to bounce off those feelings of stress, since everyone is likely to be in the same situation and can empathize. In the end, remember to maintain your sense of humor. Know that it is okay to say no to another responsibility. And never feel guilty about needing to take time for yourself. Your health and wellbeing is the utmost importance. And taking care of yourself will allow you to be there for your senior loved ones.