Caring for an aging parent can be a stressful job, even if your mom or dad isn’t that demanding. You’ve got your household to run, a career to manage, and if you’re part of the sandwich generation, you’re still raising children of your own. Here are a few tips for relieving the stress:
- Take Care of Yourself: This includes getting enough sleep (or at least trying to), getting regular exercise, and eating properly. If looking out for your health is not motivation enough, think about what would happen to loved ones if you weren’t there to take care of them.
- Journal: Keeping a journal or diary serves two purposes – it helps you relieve stress by getting your day-to-day emotions and stresses down on paper, and it helps you get a clear picture of your parent’s day to day challenges. This way, you can track health changes as they’re happening, and let the doctor know as soon as possible.
- Get Your Affairs in Order: Just like when your kids were little, you need to make sure your estate plan is solid, and there are provisions in place for who would take care of your mom or dad if something happened to you.
- Keep up With Your Outside Interests: Make sure you’re still pursuing your own hobbies and interests. If you don’t have any hobbies, consider finding one. Having interests apart from your care giving duties – even if you can only spare an hour per week – will refresh you and make you a better caregiver.
- Get Outside Help: No one can do it all alone. Look into adult daycare or home care for your mom or dad. And every once in a while, have a respite care worker come in, so that you can have a weekend away.