Caregiving to Elderly Parents: How Not to Burn Out

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Caregiving to Elderly Parents How Not to Burn Out

Are you providing caregiving to elderly parents and getting stressed? As you get older and your parents start experiencing more health difficulties, you need to make some tough decisions. Deciding how you are going to care for them is crucial and you need to put a plan in place sooner rather than later. You may decide to take care of them yourself, either in their home or at home with you. Either way, you will need to make a lot of sacrifices. 

Many people that are caring for elderly parents feel that they are unable to travel because they worry about leaving them on their own. This is a hard situation to be in because it means that you are missing out on opportunities to make important memories with your own children. It also means that you never get to take a break. When you are overworked, it’s harder to provide adequate care, so it’s important to look after yourself too. 

Taking time off every now and again will help you manage your own mental health so you can be a better carer. Here are some important things to keep in mind when taking time off from looking after elderly parents. 

Arrange Alternative Care

The first thing you need to do is arrange alternative care for your elderly relatives. If they rely on you to do things for them, you will need somebody to take over while you are gone. Other family members may take over your responsibilities if they are close by and they are already helping out with things.

Alternatively, you could look for a local respite care home that takes residents on a short-term basis. This is a perfect solution because you can rest easy in the knowledge that your loved one is being taken care of by professionals in a comfortable setting. That means you can enjoy your time off without worrying about their safety. 

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Decide How Much Contact You Want

Before you go away, you should consider how much contact you want while you are away. Setting clear boundaries beforehand will make things much easier later on. When you first start taking care of an elderly parent, you suddenly spend the majority of your time with them, so going away for the first time can feel very strange.

Some people might want daily updates while others only want to be contacted in an emergency. Either way is perfectly fine, just make sure you decide beforehand and communicate it to whoever is taking over your care duties. 

Learn To Deal With Guilt 

Managing guilt is one of the hardest things about taking time off when caring for an elderly parent. It’s only natural that you will feel guilty for leaving and you may feel as though you are letting them down. However, it’s important to remember that you still have to look after yourself and it’s not selfish to take a break from time to time.

In fact, caregiver stress is a very real problem and if you don’t manage it, you risk your own mental health. It also makes you less effective as a caregiver. So, don’t see taking time off as a bad thing, see it as a way to make sure that you and your loved one are both looked after properly. 

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If you are caregiving to elderly parents or loved ones and things are all getting on top of you, consider taking a break before you burn yourself out.