When someone we care about is aging and begins to experience serious health problems, we tend to focus all of our attention on their wellbeing. An ailment like dementia can be particularly distressing (and emotionally taxing), because of the level of care the patient demands.
You need to make sure that they are eating properly, that they are getting enough sleep and exercise, that they do not pose a threat to themselves or others. With so much required, it is not surprising that the care of our loved ones more often than not comes at the expense of the caregivers themselves.
It is important that we also address the needs of caregivers and loved ones of the senior. And when I say “also” I do not mean it as an afterthought. Arguably, the caregiver should be taken care of first, so that he or she has the energy to tend to the senior in their trust.
So, what can we do to address the needs of caregivers?
Reducing personal stress
All of the things that the caregiver is doing for the senior, they also need to be doing for themselves. This includes eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. By making time for these seemingly “small things,” you will keep your body on a regular schedule, which can be incredibly important for fighting off illness and overall feeling ready to tackle the day.
Manifesting a positive mindset
Optimism is all about perspective – and with time and effort, you can train yourself to have a more positive mindset. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, reel it in and focus on the moment in front of you. Instead of worrying about the future, or thinking about the millions of “what ifs,” ask yourself “what can I do right now?” It is important that you do not expect things to change drastically overnight. Instead, focus on creating small incremental changes.
Dealing with difficult decisions
One of the toughest parts of caregiving is the emotional weight of having to make life-altering decisions about or for another person. Do not feel like you need to do this on your own. Take time to talk through your feelings with people you trust and respect. Journaling is another good way to really work through the situation. At the end of the day, you should trust your gut. Especially if you follow the recommendations above, you will be better equipped to make decisions for your loved ones.