Caring for your parents seems like the best choice, but it can be emotionally and physically wearing.
It's common for family caregivers to get pulled into a cycle of anxiety and depression. It's hard enough seeing your parents age, but chronic health conditions often make it clear that your mom or dad's health is declining.
Rather than let this stress you out, make the most of the time that's left. Here are the best ways to embrace a new mindset and enjoy a lot of quality time together.
-Learn to Say No
Sometimes, the stress you feel comes from taking on too much. If you're providing some of your parents' care and a friend asks you to watch their child on your one free day, don't feel obligated. It's okay to tell people that you really don't have the time or energy.
That first time you say no, you may worry that you've hurt someone's feelings. It doesn't matter if you have. You need to put your own emotional and physical health first. If you don't, you might not be in a place where you're in the best place to help your parents.
-Attend a Support Group
You need to de-stress. A support group is one of the best ways. You can discuss your fears and frustrations with others. When you're with your parents, you've already vented, so you'll be able to spend time with them in a more positive frame of mind.
-Focus on the Present
Focus on the time you have now. Whether your mom has Alzheimer's or your dad has cancer, focus on the present and not the future. If your parents have a list of things they've always wanted to do, start checking them off.
For example, your dad has always wanted to go to each brewery in your state and have a beer with his family. As long as the doctors say it's okay for him to travel, start doing day trips to the breweries you can reach in a day. If he tires easily, make sure the trips don't take you so far that he is too exhausted to enjoy himself.
If your mom has always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, start saving up. Take her out on a surprise hot air balloon trip and get lots of pictures. Those pictures can be hung around her home or put on a digital photo frame as a reminder of the fun she had.
-Hire Professional Caregivers so That You Have Time for Fun
Elderly care services give you the break you need. Being a family caregiver is challenging, and some people don't fully understand how stressful it can be. With caregivers on your side, you'll have time to yourself and avoid caregiver burnout. Call an elderly care agency to discuss services and prices.