Whether your caring for an aging parent or a growing child it’s important to make time for yourself
The Administration on Aging states that there were over 39.6 million people over age 65 living in the US in2009, and the numbers have been growing each year. The AOA estimates that, by year 2030, approximately 19% of the population (or 72.1 million) will be over age 65.
Many of these elderly will have serious physical health problems like diabetes or heart disease, or mental health issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s. And some could have a combination of mental and physical ailments, all of which could require round-the-clock care.
Senior communities give elderly residents the ability to live independently, while having access to 24-hr emergency care, or in assisted-living environments with on-site nursing. But not everyone can afford these types of living arrangements – a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility could average $3,200 per month. Additionally, many people have mixed feelings about putting mom and dad into a “home.” Even if assisted living is an option, there is still that transition period where parents might need extra care before moving into the facility.
But taking care of elderly parents is very demanding and stressful. If your parents have mental issues, it can be much like taking care of an adult-sized toddler. Add the demands and expectations of your job, your spouse, and your own children, and you will find that you get lost somewhere in the equation.
The thing is, as a caretaker, you are possibly the most important part of the equation because you hold everything together.
There are hundreds of resources telling you what to do to take care of yourself: get plenty of rest, take breaks, give yourself “me time.” But they don’t always tell you how you’re supposed to do it when caring for your loved one can take up every minute that you aren’t at work or tending to your own family.
So here are some ideas for getting help with your loved one’s care, so you will actually have some time to take care of yourself.
Reach out to Family
Reach out to family. All too often one person somehow ends up the sole caretaker. Sometimes it’s due to proximity – everyone else lives out of town – but sometimes it happens because other family members don’t realize that help is needed. If you have siblings close by, let them know that you need their help. Suggest splitting up duties so that no one person is overwhelmed, and each person has some time to take care of herself, or her other duties.
Consider a nursing service. Companies like CareFamily caregivers offer in-home care for a few hours each day, a few nights a week, or even several days in a row. They can provide medical care, or just be there in case something is needed.
Adult Day Care
Enroll them into an adult day care service. Isolation is a big issue with the elderly. Adult day cares provide social activities, and the opportunity for them to make new friends. They also provide a place for them to go during the day, while you are at work, or to give you some alone time in your own home. If your parents are on medication, the day care could also make sure they get their medicines during the day.
Check out silver sneakers fitness classes at your local gym. Like the adult daycare, these fitness classes give your loved one an opportunity to socialize, and also let you both get out of the house. The classes last from 30 minutes to one hour and, during that time, you could get a small workout yourself, or use that time recharge on your own.