Tips to help you find balance after becoming a family caregiver

Posted: 3/26/2020 8:00 AM by Interim HealthCare
They've taken care of us throughout our lives. It's only natural that we want to help our older loved ones as they age and need extra assistance. 

Research shows that there are over 40 million unpaid (family) caregivers in the United States. It can be incredibly gratifying to give back to your loved ones when they need you most, even in small ways like running errands and offering conversation.

But, it can also be physically and emotionally draining. As much as we want to provide care for our senior loved ones, many of us are already balancing a busy life with work, spouse, kids, friends and more family. Adding on the duties associated with being a family caregiver can tip the scales in the wrong direction. 

The resulting overload can put a burden not only on yourself, but on your family and even your senior loved ones -- they can tell when you're stressed, and that is the last thing they want!

Being a family caregiver is all about balance.

Whether you've just started providing care to a loved one or you have been doing so for years, sometimes those scales are tipped off balance. That imbalance can  affect nearly every area of your life -- including your health.

Here is some simple, actionable advice to help you find or restore balance as you care for your older loved ones:

Talk to someone.

Whether it's your spouse, best friend, a therapist or even a support group of family caregivers, it's important for you to vent your frustrations in a supportive environment. There's nothing wrong with feeling a little burned out or simply needing to talk. We all need to share our feelings! Bottling them up can compound your stress and cause even more imbalance.

Don't go it alone.

Sometimes, having a little help of your own can really improve the stress of your situation. Whether it's a sibling, spouse or family friend, or even your own kids, ask for others to chip in to care for your loved one whenever possible. A professional home health aide can also step in to provide professional, yet compassionate, care for your senior loved one. You get peace of mind in knowing that your loved one is receiving excellent care. And as a bonus, your loved one will enjoy seeing more happy faces and having more company!

Consider journaling.

It's not for everyone, but research shows that journaling can help you reduce anxiety and relieve stress. It can give you a sense of control over a situation, and can help you work out your thoughts or concerns. After a busy day, you may find yourself looking forward to unwinding with a cup of tea and a few minutes to your thoughts. 

Schedule time for you.

This one is a given, but it's important to mention. That's because we KNOW that many family caregivers are too focused on their loved ones to make time for themselves! Yet, taking time for yourself -- whether it's a spa day or massage, or even just shopping, going for a run or enjoying a cup of coffee -- helps you unwind and recharge. After all, you can't take care of anyone if you don't take care of yourself!

You really CAN do it all.

It's possible to take care of yourself, your family and friends, and your senior loved ones. But you need the right team in place to do it. Here at Interim HealthCare, our network of home care professionals across the country is invested in the health and happiness of you and your loved ones. To learn more about our senior care services, contact your local Interim HealthCare location today.