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How to Alleviate the Stress of Caring for an Elderly Parent

05/06/2023 General, Newsletter, Blog

How to Alleviate the Stress of Caring for an Elderly Parent

As our elders move into retirement, they often need some care and as families we are usually the first ones called upon. Caring for an elderly loved one with dementia or any other specific needs can be very stressful. Some stress is normal and can be manageable, but if you are often feeling overwhelmed with your caring duty, then you could be heading for burnout and you need to think about looking after yourself and your needs too.

Here are some top signs:

  • You are struggling to sleep properly, even when your loved one does.
  • You feel permanently exhausted and can’t muster up the energy to do things that you used to enjoy.
  • You suffer from stomach complaints, headaches, or other aches and pains that you can’t shift.
  • You get angry and irritable with your loved one when they repeat themselves or behave in a way that deep down you know they can’t help.
  • You are always worrying about money, future finances and how you are going to manage.
  • You aren’t eating properly and have perhaps lost your appetite or are overeating for comfort.
  • You are drinking or smoking too much.
  • You are having anxiety or panic attacks.
  • You rarely ask for help from anyone else.
  • You often feel emotional or tearful about the situation with your loved one.

So, once you have recognised some of these symptoms in yourself, how can you go about alleviating the situation?

Have a carer’s assessment.

Your local services department may be able to offer you some help with the day to day caring or provide you with some equipment to help make your life easier. Even if you are not eligible for free help, they should be able to suggest other ways of getting help, such as paid for help from home care agencies.

Research the condition your loved one has

The more you know about the different approaches to deal with behaviour associated with a particular disability or disease, the less helpless you will feel. You will naturally become more empathetic to them and their needs, when you have a better understanding.

Take advantage of respite care or other help.

It is incredible how many carers neglect themselves and their need for time to themselves. Try to keep an open mind about alternatives such as respite care, as this could give you the break you need and deserve!

Make time and space for yourself.

As with all stressors of life, caring for someone can mean you have little time or capacity to relax. But try putting 10 minutes aside each day to do something for you. Put on a relaxation CD, head to the gym, go for coffee with a friend or go for a walk in the park to  help you feel much calmer.

Take care of your own physical health,

Whilst looking after someone else, it is easy to forget about your own needs. Do not skip doctor’s appointments because you feel like you don’t have time for yourself. Minor ailments can soon become major ones and you need to look after your own health so that you are in a better position to look after your loved one’s health.

Lower your expectations and accept your limitations.

Have a look at your daily care plan for your relative and have a think about what could be modified. For example, does every meal need to be cooked from scratch? Or do you really need to drive an hour to a beauty spot for a walk, or would a local park be much easier and just as nice for your loved one to enjoy?

Get support from your peers.

Nothing beats confiding in someone who really knows you and knows what you are going through. You can also think about joining support groups with people in a similar situation to yourself, where you can be comforted to find similarities in experiences.

Find a longer-term solution in a retirement village.

Here at Rangeford Villages, we offer flexible, personalised, discreet services in the comfort of your own home to help our residents continue to enjoy every part of retired life comfortably and with confidence. Both mental and physical wellbeing are key to maintaining happiness, which is why we entrust resident care to our skilled, professional, friendly CQC registered Rangeford Care team (including Concierge and Housekeeping) available 24/7 to provide you with the support you need.

This person-centred form of care allows residents and their family to feel peace of mind in the knowledge that they’re in safe hands. The easily approachable team is more than happy to answer families’ questions and address changing needs quickly. Their aim is to enable residents to feel more confident, and they often encourage them to get involved with village life and take part in activities they might enjoy so that they can live their retirement to the fullest.

We know that considering a move to a retirement village is a very personal one and a choice that has to feel right for you and your loved one. Our village sales advisors are always available at the end of the phone to discuss and talk through any questions you may have.

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