What is some advice you would give to caregivers of the elderly?
1. Recognize and respect your parents’ feelings.
Those who get older may be anxious or depressed if they lose mobility, have a lot of chronic illnesses, or miss their independence. “It might lead children to become overloaded, fearful, or distant,” says Susan Hodges, a parental caregiver and author of A Breach of Trust. “It’s essential to listen to them and relieve their fears.” If you provide peace, they will rest and overcome their negative emotions. It’s not about handling them like a child, but about respecting them like an aged adult.”
2. Write a diary.
A New York nursing home navigator coach and a caregiver says that “journaling lets all of your feelings, both positive and bad, come out of your body.” “Write about your thoughts and emotions and what you’re dealing with your loved one, even if it’s only a few phrases.” You don’t have to wait for a caregiver support group or call someone on the phone.
You can deal with what’s on your mind right away, and there is no need to wait. As a caregiver, you’ll find the journal very useful when your time as a caregiver comes to an end. It’s a record of your story, your care-taking journey.
3. Dedicate 10 minutes to yourself.
You can feel as if you don’t have a single minute to waste. However, you can find a few minutes – on the bus to work, while you’re alone in a parked car, in the doctor’s office waiting room – to relieve tension and give your mind a rest. “I wish I had been meditating when I was a caretaker; I am now,” Chirico adds. “Calming the mind, for even 10 minutes a day, is extremely valuable to general health and helps in everyday life.”