Taking care of elderly parents is as difficult as taking care of children. Often care givers experience feelings that are hard to cope with. However, once identified, coping with them also makes care giving easier for them.
How does prolonged care giving affect primary care givers?
- Sudden alternative feelings of wanting and not wanting to play the role may be experienced by a care giver. Whereas, some days may feel like caring can bring happiness, but on other days the job may seem too depressing for him or her. This is applicable to both the care giver and receiver.
- Sudden outbursts of anger while providing care to your elderly parents at home and losing control over emotions are also both very frequent but normal part of the care giving process. Taking care of someone who is irrational or aggressive due to disturbed mental state can be challenging and can test your patience after a certain period.
- The moment when one realizes that one cannot control the circumstances anymore and can no longer make the care giver feel anxious, the person may end up with insomnia, heart palpitations or an impulse to give up on the care giving.
- Prolonged period of care giving may also lead to depression. The person may feel trapped in an unending loop from where there is no scope of escape. The care giver may be also feel helpless and dread to face each day as it comes.
- Taking care of a loved one during his or her last days often creates a different bonding between the care giver and the receiver. The person giving care shares all the experiences of the receiver every day. So after the death of the loved one, it is often very hard for the person to cope with the death.
- The process of care giving brings a sense of loss in the care giver. He or she might be losing control on emotion, which often leads to depression and sadness.
Here are 5 tips for managing day-to-day time as a caregiver.
- Schedule your time for the day keeping enough time for yourself. It may sound selfish but it is only practical. Take time out to refill your energy tanks. Taking care of your loved one can drain all your energy and make you feel exhausted; both physically and mentally.
- Often absence of proper planning makes the care givers defocused and hence miss out some important tasks that needs immediate attention. This is because of mismanagement of time and priority. Making a list of things to do on a daily basis may prove helpful in the long run and also give a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
- Ensure all those taking part in the care giving process have their roles defined properly to avoid replication of duties. This also saves time and energy, bringing more efficiency and management of tasks at the same time. When the duties are equally distributed, it is possible to keep away depression of the care givers and the receiver.
- Expect crisis periods during the care giving process. It is very much possible to feel like things are getting out of hand. However, it is only important to know that it is unavoidable sometimes and should be expected rather than feeling dreadful about it.
- Stop expecting and learn to adjust them with achievable goals. There may be things that cannot be controlled. For example: if the elderly is suffering from a progressive disease like dementia, it is only natural that the ailment will get worse with time. There is very little that can be done about it. Expecting to control the situation can only worsen your emotional well being when one finds that things are not working the way they had planned.
Is it time to ask for help?
Taking care of an elderly who is either physically or psychologically unwell can prove to be taxing on one’s own health. Not all of us can deal with long term care giving process and it is okay if you need help. Care givers trained in geriatric care can help you with the process and care of the elderly.
- They help you with complex tasks being well trained and capable of handling critical situations
- They assist the elderly to help manage emotional distress by building conversations
- They make scheduled home visits and advise services that can be availed based on the current situation
- They assess home care needs for the elderly
- They co-ordinate with concerned personnel for any health issues that require medical help
- They help the care giver to release stress by giving support during emergencies and times of emotional distress
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