7 Helpful Tips When Caring for a Parent
Caring for a parent is no doubt a difficult task. It requires focus, determination, and hard work.
The responsibility of caring for anyone let alone a loved one is challenging because it's your family.
When it's someone you love, caring for them can be bittersweet. It's natural to wish your parent was capable of living independently, you want what's best for them.
But there is no better feeling than knowing you are giving them what they need the most right now – someone to care for them.
Any helpful tips that could make caregiving a more manageable experience can make a world of difference.
Whether you're a newbie at this or a veteran, here are 7 helpful tips that could be useful for you:
Tip #1: Be prepared to be available.
If there's one thing you know you have to do when it comes to caregiving, it's being available. You have to set aside time in your life to care for your parent's needs and put them first, even if it means sacrificing your own.
If they are disabled or recovering from a major surgery, they require more attention because they aren't capable of achieving normal tasks alone just yet. They will need you to be there to help them get well.
If possible, a great way to reduce the workload and stress is getting family members involved in the process. If that is not an option, research what your options are for at home care.
Tip #2: Listen to your parent's needs.
If your parent is elderly, they may forget what they need at certain times in the day. If they are ill or recovering from surgery, their doctor may have assigned prescription medications. It is important to stay on top of that in case they do not remember as these medicines aid in their recovery.
The easiest way to do this to purchase a Day Pill Organizer
. These plastic containers organize pills for each day of the week. You can purchase these at a local pharmacy or online at ExpressMed.com
As always, it's important to make sure your parent feels comfortable, so listen to their needs. They may not always say it directly, so being observant is key. Remember, your parent's needs depend on your support and how much he/she is surrounded by good listeners.
Tip #3: Form a schedule.
There are several tasks when it comes to caregiving, and organization is a lifesaver. It makes your goals achievable and realistic.
Let this become one of the first things you do when you have enough information about your parent's situation to see what your caregiving schedule will look like.
This will serve as a benefit to your parent and yourself. Having a regular routine gives them and understanding of what they can expect in each day, and it will give you time to prepare for the next steps.
The sooner you can get started the better because it'll allow you be more productive.
Tip #4: Stay healthy.
It's easier said than done, but it has to be done. It is critical for you to keep up with the health of your parent and your own. If you're not healthy, it's easy to run low on the energy you need to care for them.
Pre-plan meals for the week, including fruits and veggies, and store them in freezer bags, and Tupperware containers. If you rather cook fresh meals, you can get ahead by cooking when you parent is napping or doing a solo activity.
If going out together for a quick trip, pack some light snacks and juices filled vitamins, fiber, and protein and don't forget your SPF 30 sunblock!
Tip #5: Do activities they like.
Every parent's situation is different, but being physically disabled or elderly does not mean your parent is incapable of doing anything so be careful of being too overbearing.
Our parents in these situations want a sense of freedom and they can only do it in so many ways. Their emotional health is just as important as their physical health so let them choose what they want to do.
Allow your parent to visit family and friends... it will do their health good. It will give them a sense of normalcy to their lives and yours.
Go for an exercise or activity, let them get fresh air if they so desire. Go to a park, museum, movie, or grocery store. When they feel good, you feel good and vice versa.
Tip #6: Spend time with them.
If you are the caregiver, do things with your parent you wouldn't normally do when you both are occupied.
Have a conversation unrelated to prescription medication and medical emergencies. It'll allow them to take their mind off of them into other things, and you too.
We all know spending time with a person doesn't always mean that you have to be there in person, but being there is really nice. If you live out of town and you have a family member in this situation, call them to see how they are doing. I'm sure they'll love to hear from you.
Tip #7: Find support.
Join a Community
This is one of the most important tips of life for anyone, especially a caregiver. Having a support system is a life line.
You need to be able to share your thoughts, feelings, and frustrations with someone who understands you and can provide you with encouragement.
As a caregiver, your emotional health is important too. How you perceive your life and what you do with your emotions determines the course of each day. If you meditate, do so. Your spiritual health is just as necessary!
Keep focus, and remind yourself that what you're doing is worth it. Caring for someone is not easy, by doing so you are showing your parent that you love them and to yourself that you do too.