How to Stay Mentally Healthy While Caring for An Elderly Parent

Caring for aging parents means also knowing how to care for yourself. After all, you’re the main caregiver and if you burn out, you’re no good to them. Burnout can come in many forms, it’s more than feeling exhausted and overworked, though both of these are main components of that condition. You may also feel isolated, stressed, depressed, even quick to anger or resent your parents and others around you.

Sometimes it’s important to take break and step back, but you may also feel as if your parent’s health and well-being are going to regress if you take even a moment’s rest. Perhaps your parent requires so much care that you have given up on all aspects of your own life and you aren’t able to see it.

Those who are feeling burnout are simply no longer competent for providing care because they are putting themselves and their elderly ward at risk. If any of this sounds like your particular situation, it’s time that you took a breather and focused more on your own mental well-being.

Prioritize

It’s possible that you’re taking on too much, doing things and taking on tasks that you can delegate to someone else or perhaps even allow your parent do themselves. Many caregivers, particularly children of elderly adults, will take so much on in an effort to care for a parent that they end up doing everything. That not only leads to feelings of stress but they are wasting precious time on the things that aren’t as important when they could be taking that time to really make a difference in the health and well-being of their senior.

So, it’s time to prioritize, make a list of the things you must do yourself and the things that someone else can be tasked with handling. You may consider hiring professional home care in Allentown to help out with the jobs that someone else can deal with instead. You must avoid becoming overwhelmed and reducing your workload will be a big help.

Consider Your Own Needs

Too many caregivers will put their own needs aside because they feel like focusing inward is a sign of selfishness. Quite the contrary, taking time to care for yourself is imperative for your mental health and your emotional state. It would be selfish not to do so as it affects the quality of the care you provide for your loved one.

So, take a minute to consider the time you need for yourself. This includes time spent with your significant other and your children. Consider the time you need for getting your errands completed, for taking time out to go to the gym, take a walk, reading a book, or simply relaxing with friends to go see a movie.

It’s Okay to Say “No”

It’s perfectly normal to establish boundaries and set limits as to where your extent of care exists. Don’t feel like you have to say “yes” to every request or task fulfillment. You aren’t selfish if you decline to handle certain responsibilities. Your parent likely doesn’t believe you are shirking your duties, you are probably writing that drama yourself. If you need more time to care for your own mental health, say no more often.