Caregiving for elderly parents is a unique challenge. With the current worldwide health concerns, the responsibilities you’ve taken on can quickly feel overwhelming.
With everything going on in the world, how can a family work through their own stress from this pandemic, while also making sure their loved ones are safe?
Let’s look at ways to help you manage the stresses of caregiving for your elderly parents so that you can focus more on enjoying the moments you share with your loved ones.
Face the Difficulties First
Facing what you think are the most difficult tasks and decisions early on will help you shape important next steps and allow you to stop worrying about the unknowns.
To help gain control of your situation, work through plans for things like the following:
- Make a plan for medical emergencies, whether this relates directly to your parent’s health or your own health issues that may impact the level of care you can provide.
- Make daily responsibilities simpler by researching and setting up services, such as grocery delivery, virtual doctor visits, and even shifts among other family members.
- Discuss the factors that impact whether your parent will need to transition to the care of a senior living facility for the best quality of life.
- Discuss financial needs and plans to make sure the level of care and services your parent needs is affordable and sustainable.
- Establish who among your family, friends, and professional service providers need to be updated on certain types of information. Keep their contact information organized and easy to access.
- Discuss elderly parents’ wishes as they age, including topics that may be difficult to discuss but are important. Knowing what kind of care they’re comfortable with, that their will is finalized, and any end of life decisions helps you understand how best to respect their preferences and needs.
Once you get some of the important and more serious plans established, it frees up time and energy for practicing mindfulness. Although there are many uncertainties outside of your control, you can release some of your worries, knowing you have a system in place to manage the situation as it changes.
Allow yourself, and help your ageing parent, to take each day as it comes. By slowing down and focusing on each moment, you can soak up the positives in your relationship with your parent and this opportunity you have to care for them.
Work together to practice mindfulness by taking moments to discuss what you’re grateful for. Plan activities that help you focus on the moment, such as learning family recipes or other skills and traditions, going through old photographs or home movies, or spending time in nature and observing the outdoors.
Recognize That You Are Not Alone
There are resources available to help you through this difficult time. This includes services that can literally help you do the work of caregiving or resources to help guide you through the ups and downs of caring for elderly parents.
For example, The Kensington Sierra Madre’s blog offers articles such as this one, which recommends the top books for caregivers. Kensington Konnect is a hub of informative, entertaining, and fun resources for caregivers, seniors, and families to enjoy, including how-to videos, online classes, virtual tours, and concerts.
It may also help to connect with others who are going through or have gone through a similar experience. Discussing your feelings with others can help you see that you don’t have to do this alone and that you are connected to a community of people who are navigating similar struggles.
Make Your Own Health Important
If you become too overwhelmed, you could lose your ability to care for an elderly parent. Watch for signs of caregiver burnout and prevent compassion fatigue.
- Get enough sleep
- Stay hydrated
- Eat nutritious foods
- Exercise, stretch, or take walks
- Take time for yourself to destress
- Visit with friends and loved ones
- Enjoy your hobbies
It’s important to take care of yourself so that you can continue to approach your caregiving responsibilities with strength. Your loved one feeds off of your energy, so it helps both of you to have a positive spirit and come from a place of strength.
How The Kensington Helps Loved Ones
During this stressful time, The Kensington Sierra Madre is doing all that it can to care for its elderly community.
During the pandemic, when visitors are not allowed into the communities as they once were, we work extra hard to ensure each person feels connected and loved, just as we would for our own family members.
Providing Life Enrichment has taken on new meaning, as staff now serves as wellness and yoga instructors, live performers, hairdressers, nail technicians, and entertainers.
Through these efforts, we’ve also encouraged residents to share their skills and interests with each other. One resident, a former teacher, enjoys reading to a group of others who listen at a safe distance.
As we temporarily can’t have entertainers come to visit, we create our own fun with music for our Happy Hour and Karaoke, which we all get involved in. Various times a week, we lead dance class, exercises, and meditations. We often have a Sing-A-Long or Karaoke and most of our residents have begun sharing their talents in singing, dancing, playing harmonica, and piano.
At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we observe the CDC guidelines of social distancing and do everything we can to keep our residents, their loved ones, and our staff safe.
We are closed to visitors for the time being. However, our community has virtual tours, and our team is just a phone call away to answer any questions about how we continue to provide exceptional senior care.
Photo by Dominik Lange on Unsplash
To learn more about our exceptional assisted living and memory care at The Kensington Sierra Madre, click below or give us a call today for any questions. We promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own.
Recommended Additional Reading:
The Kensington Helps HFC Exceed Fundraising Goal for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Dealing with Disagreements: Caregivers and Loved Ones
Caregiver Burnout vs. Compassion Fatigue