How Can You Avoid Burnout When Caring for Elderly Parents?
If we could stop our parents (and ourselves) from aging, we think it’s safe to say that most of us would.
The circle of life is complex, and it often goes from our parents taking care of us, to us taking care of our parents — and truth be told, both can be exhausting.
Although there is an expectation that almost all of us will be a caregiver at one point in our lives, it’s essential to understand that there are limits to what we can do for our loved ones without losing ourselves.
But how can we accomplish that?
Read on to learn how to cope with taking care of elderly parents, the signs of caregiver burnout, how you can avoid it, and how to continue to care for your parents without feeling exhausted or resentful.
Table of Contents
How Do You Cope With Taking Care of Elderly Parents?
When taking care of your elderly parents, knowing how to cope with the stress and responsibility is vital — and one of the most important ways to cope with caring for elderly parents is to know your limits.
39% of adults in the U.S. are providing care for a loved one with significant health issues — with nearly 4 out of 10 caregivers considering the situation to be highly stressful. So while acting as a caregiver can be overwhelming, we want you to know you are not alone.
The best ways to cope with taking care of elderly parents are by:
- Knowing and accepting your limits
- Recognizing any signs of caregiver burnout
- Ensuring that you are taking the best care of yourself, so you can provide the best care for your parents
Recognizing the Signs of Burnout When Taking Care of Aging Parents
It’s important to know and understand the signs of caregiver burnout — and how to protect yourself from it.
If you are experiencing …
- Sleep problems
- Changes in eating habits
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Weight loss or gain
- A loss of interest in activities you typically enjoy
- Mood swings
- Physical problems, such as headaches or stomachaches
- A lack of energy or motivation
… you may be dealing with caregiver burnout.
6 Tips to Avoid Caregiver Burnout When Caring for Your Elderly Parents
#1: Thoroughly Understand Your Parents’ Health
For many caregivers, time management is one of the biggest obstacles — but there are ways to make the most of your time while caring for elderly parents.
Knowing as much about your parents’ health conditions and needs is essential in helping manage your time and providing proper care for your parents, without feeling (as) overwhelmed.
To gain a thorough understanding of your parents’ health, accompany them to their medical appointments, when possible. This will allow you to gain perspective on their health problems, how their health needs may change over time, and ways to provide proper care for your parents.
#2: Take Care of Yourself
As a caregiver, self-care is essential. Time away from caregiving, to focus on just you, is an absolute necessity.
Remember to do simple, everyday things, like going for a walk in your downtime or spending time with friends,
If that feels impossible, it’s a tell-tell sign that respite care — or even long-term care — may be ideal for your elderly parents. This comes in many forms, including:
- In-home care
- Adult daycare
- Senior living facilities.
#3: Join a Support Group
Knowing you are not alone and that your feelings are valid can make all the difference in the amount of stress you feel.
Consider joining a support group with other caregivers. If your parent has a specific health condition, like a form of dementia, consider looking for groups who are coping with the disease.
Joining a support group is a great way to:
- Relate to other caregivers
- Make friends, and
- Find resources to help ease the stress and prevent burnout
#4: Allow Yourself to Feel Without Guilt
Caregiver guilt is common. Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel those emotions when they arise, and get back to being the best caregiver you can be once you’ve felt through them.
Negative feelings aren’t abnormal for you to feel — and it doesn’t make you a bad person if you are feeling them. Remind yourself that you’re only one person. You can’t be strong for everyone all the time.
#5: Set Boundaries
What are your personal boundaries?
Look at your current (or future) situation and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself questions like:
- Can you handle being a sole caregiver to elderly parents?
- Will you be able to provide the care they need while still taking care of yourself, and potentially, your own family?
#6: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
When caring for elderly parents, it’s hard not to let pride get in the way, but to prevent burnout, asking for help may become essential. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for caregivers to neglect themselves by putting the needs of their parents above their own — creating harmful emotional and physical strains.
Asking for help can come in many forms, like:
- Reaching out to family members and asking if they can help carry the load. Can one family member take care of your parents’ financial aspects while you focus on physically caring for them?
- Reaching out to neighbors or family friends to help with simple tasks, like helping run an errand. Speak up. More often than not, friends and family may not realize just how much stress you are under. Start a dialogue between parties to see how you can improve the situation and focus on what’s best for your parents and yourself.
- Accepting help when it’s offered. Let people support you and your elderly parents. For example, if a family member offers to pick up dinner once a week for you and your parents, accept the nice gesture and take that time to enjoy being with your loved one, or to care for yourself.
- Considering respite or long-term care. If you’re jeopardizing your own (or your parents’) health and well-being by carrying too much of a load, or find yourself feeling as though you can’t keep up, know that there are resources available. Out of home care programs for the elderly, like assisted living,may be the ideal option for caring for elderly parents.
Senior Services of America offers a home-like environment that inspires residents to live to their full potential. Our communities provide a full range of senior living options that accommodate many care levels.Your parents can depend on our staff to care for them as if they were family — we pride ourselves on doing things the right way, all the way, every time.
What Are the Benefits of Allowing Senior Living Facilities to Assist in Caring for Your Elderly Parents?
“A nursing home is not an option.” Maybe you’ve said it 100 times.
We’ve heard it before, and while we understand the age-old feelings towards nursing homes and assisted living facilities -we can assure you, there are many benefits, for both you and your parents, to allowing a senior living facility to help in caring for your elderly parents. Let’s look at a few.
Maintain a Healthy Relationship With Your Parents
Acting as a daughter or son, while also caring for elderly parents as a caregiver, can be confusing and complicated.
Struggling to do both isn’t uncommon. It can be highly beneficial to have others assist in taking care of your parents, so you can continue building your relationship instead of neglecting it.
Senior living facilities offer a host of benefits to residents, including …
- Medication management
- Assistance with activities of daily living
- Incontinence care
- Enrichment activities
- Restaurant-style dining
- Health and wellness programs
- Physical therapy
- Transportation services
- And more
Adult children no longer have to worry about the senior’s care needs and welfare, and can focus on being a son or a daughter.
Setting Boundaries Allows You to Care for Your Parents AND Yourself
By choosing to have a senior living facility assist in caring for elderly parents, you’re allowing yourself to set boundaries.
Instead of feeling forced to be with your parents for hours each day, you now have a choice to leave when necessary — and know that they are in good hands.
It’s time to get back to taking care of yourself, so you’re able to provide your parents with the best care when you are with them.
Have Confidence That Your Parents Are Receiving the Best Professional Care
Senior living facilities have highly trained staff for all levels of care.
From doctors and nurses who specialize in senior care, to …
- Physical therapists,
- Occupational therapists
- Activity directors
- And more
… each individual working in a senior living facility or community is committed to providing residents with the best possible care.
How to Determine Which Type of Senior Care Facility Is Right for Your Parents’ Needs
As you are thinking through your options when it comes to caring for your elderly parents, it’s important to consider a few factors:
- Is it the right time to move to a senior living facility?
- What type of facility would be right for your parents’ unique needs?
- How does the facility you’re considering compare to others in your area?
Thankfully, there are resources available to help you make these difficult decisions — including how to know when is the right time to move your loved ones into a senior living facility.
Senior Services of America: Caring for Your Elderly Parents by Providing Customer-Oriented Living and Promoting Independence
Senior Services of America prioritizes providing the best care to our residents. Our communities offer many care options, including:
- Independent living
- Assisted living
- Memory care; and
- Respite care
Are you overwhelmed caring for your elderly parents? Maybe you just wish you had a little more time in your day to relax, but you’re scared to leave your parents’ alone for even short periods of time — Senior Services of America communities can help relieve some of that stress.
Get back to putting your best foot forward for everyone in your life, while having the comfort of knowing your parents’ care is in the best hands with a team that has one goal in mind:
To provide the best possible customer service while caring for your elderly parents every day. Find your nearest community to speak to an advisor today.