You’re doing it all for your aging loved one. Depending on your loved one’s needs, you may find that taking care of them is a full-time job, maybe even a round-the-clock job. Add that on top of your non-caregiving life and you might feel buried by the responsibilities without the ability to come up for air.
Caregivers sometimes spend so much time and love making sure their senior is healthy, happy, and doing well, they neglect to take care of themselves. And while it may seem counterintuitive that you can become lonely while caring for someone else, it’s not uncommon for caregivers to feel isolated from the people and activities they used to enjoy.
Your mental health is just as important as those you care for, so making a concentrated effort to keep yourself healthy is important not just for you, but for those you care for. Staying connected to the things and people who give you joy is a must. Here are three steps you can take to keep those connections strong and maybe even build some new ones.
- Have a support team. For some, family and friends can be a great source of support but not everyone has that. It could be that family and friends don’t understand the stress that you’re under. If you don’t have immediate friends or family that can give you a free space to vent, cry, and celebrate, look for support groups geared for caregivers through community services, hospitals, and places of worship. Having these people in your life can help you feel less alone and isolated.
- Plan for respite care. Respite care is for you. This is your time to walk away from the situation and do whatever helps you to relax, breathe, and then find the energy to come back. Respite can be for a few hours by having a Home care provider come to your home and prepare meals and take care of your loved one. It can be for an overnight or a long weekend, as well, by having 24-hour home care stay overnight with your loved one or by having a trusted family member come and stay. If you have been feeling isolated and lonely, take these respite care times for connection and reunion with those you have been missing.
- Don’t forget about what makes you uniquely you. While caring for your aging loved one, it’s easy to forget all of the passions, interests, and hobbies you once had. But keeping up with those interests is often what helps you connect with the world around you. If you had a yoga class that you went to three times a week in the past that you loved, arrange for a home care provider to come to the home during those times so you can participate in it again. Your loved one might even enjoy hearing about some of the fun things you’re doing while you’re away.
Most caregivers will feel alone at some point during the journey of caring for their loved one and that’s okay. It’s not selfish to want to take care of yourself as well. Taking good care of your mental health will ensure you can take better care of your loved one.
If you or someone you know needs home care in Buffalo, MN, contact Adara Home Health. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.