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How to Keep Your Sanity While Caring For An Aging Parent | Care-Givers Self Care

healthy lifestyle habits self-care Sep 14, 2022

It's no secret on how hard it is to keep your sanity while caring for an aging parent. Between the medical appointments, managing their medications, and handling all the other tasks that come with caregiving, it can feel like there's never enough time or energy to take a break.

But it's so important to find time for yourself, even if it's just a few minutes each day.

Here are fifteen tips for how to carve out time for yourself and stay sane while caring for an aging parent. 

1) Make a schedule and stick to it

When you have a set routine, it's easier to balance everything else in your life. Try to schedule regular breaks into your day, whether that means going for a walk or taking a few minutes to read or listen to music.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to make a schedule and stick to it. When you have a set routine, it's easier to balance everything else in your life.

I have found this to be especially true as I've gotten older and my responsibilities have increased. I now have a full-time job caring for aging parents, and a self-care routine that feels good for me so I try to stick to.

In order to make sure that I can balance all of these things, I have to be disciplined about following my schedule. This means setting aside time each day for self-care, including things like exercise, reading, and meditation.

I also make sure to schedule regular breaks into my day, whether that means going for a walk or taking a few minutes to listen to music.

By following a schedule, I can make sure that I'm taking care of myself and my loved ones.

2) You are not an island

It can be difficult asking friends and family members for help with self care, but chances are they'll be more than happy to lend a hand. If you're not sure who to ask, check with your local caregiver support group or senior center.

You can also look into finding a certified professional here using Bark.com . I suggest asking if the service provider is certified by the State in which you live.

Professional help can provide much needed assistance and respite care for families who are caring for aging parents. lighten the load and give you some much needed time to focus on taking care of yourself!

3) Key strategies for being a care giver to aging parents

As we get older, it becomes more and more important to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically. With our busy lives, it's easy to let self-care fall by the wayside, but if we don't make time for ourselves, we'll eventually end up burned out.

It's important to relax and recharge on a regular basis, and to make sure we're getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods. We also need to take some time for ourselves each day, even if that just means reading a book or taking a relaxing bath.

If we can't figure how what to do then this is when you need to take a few minutes to rest your brain but while you do so reflect on what it is that you enjoyed doing in the past. Consider your talents and skills, and think about how you could use them differently.

Taking care of yourself is important at any age, but it's especially crucial as we get older and our parents age as well. Making sure you're  healthy in body and mind will help you to be able to better take care of your loved ones as they need us.

4) The missing link to life's little joys is what's needed

As a caregiver, it's important to find ways to stay connected with the people and things you care about. It can be easy to feel isolated, especially if you're caring for an aging parent or another loved one.

But there are plenty of ways to connect with others, even if you can't physically be with them. Social media, video chats, email, and other online tools make it easy to stay in touch with friends and family members.

There are also caregiving support groups online that can provide some much-needed connection and support. self care is also important for caregivers. Taking time for yourself will help you avoid burnout and maintain your own health and well-being. When you're feeling isolated, reach out to your loved ones and communities to find the connection you need.

5) Creativity is the spice of any care-givers life

No matter what your age is, or occupation, you will definitely need to find ways to express yourself creatively. It's a form of self-care that can help you to relieve stress, connect with your emotions, and find joy in everyday life.

And you don't have to be a master artist to enjoy the benefits of creativity - simply picking up a coloring book or putting pen to paper can provide some relief.

So if you're feeling overwhelmed, try expressing yourself through art. It just might provide the boost you need to get through the day.

6) Experience being in the moment and loving in!

One way to focus on the present moment and calm your mind is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and letting go of distractions. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, or simply paying attention to your breath.

By taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath and be present in the moment, you can help reduce stress and anxiety. Not only is mindfulness good for your mental health, but it can also be beneficial for physical health as well.

For example, studies have shown that mindfulness can help to reduce blood pressure and improve sleep quality. If you are looking for a way to improve your overall health and well-being, consider incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine.

7) Boost your mood and reduce your anxiety

As we get older, self-care becomes more important than ever. With our aging parents, we need to take care of ourselves so that we can be there for them when they need us. Part of self-care is eating healthy foods that support our mood.

Omega-3s, probiotics, and magnesium-rich foods are all great choices. Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function.

Probiotics improve gut health, which can in turn improve mood and energy levels. Magnesium is a natural relaxant and can help to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Make sure to include these mood-boosting foods in your diet so you can feel your best.

8) Self care is so important at every stage of life 

As we get older, our bodies change and we have new stressors. It's important to take care of ourselves emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. Often, people hesitate to seek professional help because they think they should be able to cope on their own. But there's no shame in admitting that you need some extra support.

Life is complicated and it can be hard to manage everything on your own. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out to a therapist or counselor. They can help you develop coping mechanisms and self-care strategies that work for you.

Taking care of yourself is essential for living a happy and fulfilling life. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

According to the American Psychological Association, stress is a major problem in the United States, with one in four adults reporting that they experience high levels of stress. And, as we all know, stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health.

If you're struggling to cope with stress or anxiety, it's important to seek professional help. A therapist can help you identify the source of your stress and develop coping mechanisms to deal with it. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out to a therapist or counselor.

Taking care of yourself is essential, especially as you age. And if you have aging parents, you may need extra support to deal with the added stress of caregiving.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. It's a sign of strength, not weakness.

9) Get enough sleep each night to feel rested and refreshed

Sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Make sure you're getting enough sleep each night, and if you're having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about possible solutions.These are just a few ideas to get you started.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to coping with stress.

Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep a night. But as we age, our sleep patterns change and we may need less sleep or have more trouble sleeping through the night.

If you're not getting enough sleep, you may be irritable, have trouble concentrating, and be more accident-prone. You may also find yourself reaching for unhealthy foods to give you a "quick fix" of energy.

Luckily, there are things you can do to get better sleep. Establish a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and create a relaxing bedtime routine.

If you're still having difficulty sleeping, talk to your doctor about possible solutions. Don't let lack of sleep take a toll on your health. Make sure you're getting the rest you need to feel your best. 

10) Breaking during the day for your mind and body

Taking a break each day – even if it’s just for five minutes. When you take time for yourself, you’re able to rejuvenate and come back to your responsibilities with fresh energy. It’s important to find activities that help you relax and allow you to enjoy some “me” time. This can be anything from reading, going for a walk, taking a yoga class, or getting a massage.

If you have aging parents, it’s especially important to take breaks so that you can avoid caregiver burnout. Taking care of yourself will help you be a better caregiver and enjoy your time with your loved ones more.

So make sure to schedule some self-care time into your day – your mind and body will thank you! With aging parents, work, and other responsibilities, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself.

Even if you can't get away for a long vacation, I often tell my clients that self care is not a luxury, but a necessity. When we don't take care of ourselves, we are more likely to get sick and end up needing more medical care. In addition, self care can help us to age more gracefully.

When we take breaks during the day to relax and rejuvenate, we reduce our stress levels and give our bodies a chance to heal. As a result, we can look and feel our best as we age. So even if you can't get away for a long vacation, make sure to take some time each day to relax and rejuvenate.

Your body will thank you for it! Do something that makes you laugh every day. Laughter is great medicine for the soul. So make sure to include some humor in your life each day, whether it's watching a funny movie, reading a hilarious book, or spending time with friends who make you laugh.

Taking a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing, read a book, or take a walk can help reduce stress levels and improve your overall mood. In addition, self-care can also help you be more productive and efficient in your other responsibilities. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed, take a break and give yourself some time to relax. You'll be glad you did! 

11) Simplify your life as much as possible to reduce stress

One of the best ways to cope with stress is to simplify your life as much as possible. This means getting rid of anything that's causing unnecessary stress in your life.

So take a look at your schedule and see what can be cut out or simplified. Try decluttering your home, setting aside time each week for self-care, or streamlining your work schedule.

For many people, caring for aging parents is one of the most stressful tasks they face. But there are ways to simplify this process as well. If you live nearby, consider checking in on them regularly or arranging for transportation to and from doctor's appointments. You can also help with managing their finances or researching long-term care options. By taking on some of the burden yourself, you can make the caring process simpler and less stressful for everyone involved.

As we move through life, it can become easy to accumulate possessions, responsibilities, and stressors. A house full of stuff, caring for aging parents, and a demanding job can all leave us feeling overwhelmed. However, it is possible to reduce stress by simplifying our lives. One way to do this is to declutter our homes. Letting go of things that we no longer need can help to lighten our load and make our homes more peaceful. Similarly, we can simplify our schedules by eliminating commitments that are not essential. Learning to say no can free up time and energy for the things that truly matter. Finally, we can also simplify our thought processes by learning to let go of negative thoughts and emotions. When we are able to let go of the unnecessary baggage in our lives, we can live more peacefully and with less stress.

"In the United States, there are approximately 45 million adults who are providing care for a loved one. And of those, 34 million are caring for an aging parent"

When it comes to caring for aging parents, you're not alone. There are millions of other caregivers out there who understand what you're going through. If you are caring for aging parents, you are not alone

Connecting with others can help you feel supported and can give you some great ideas for coping with stress.

  • connect with other caregivers is to join a support group. These groups provide a safe space for you to share your experiences and learn from others who are going through similar situations. Support groups can be an invaluable resource when you're trying to cope with the stress of caring for an aging parent.
  • Another helpful way to connect with other caregivers is to participate in online forums or chat rooms. These platforms provide a convenient way to connect with others who understand what you're going through. You can exchange tips and advice, ask questions, and find support from people who know what you're dealing with.
  • Finally, don't forget about your personal network of friends and family members. These individuals can provide valuable support and assistance when you're caring for an aging parent. They can help out with practical tasks, offer emotional support, and provide a listening ear when you need it most. There's a community of caring individuals ready and willing to help. So don't go through this journey alone - reach out and find the support you need.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to coping with stress.

But by taking some time for yourself and finding activities that help reduce your stress levels, you can make the journey a little bit easier.

So, how do you take care of yourself while caring for an aging parent?

The answer is simple, but not easy. 

You have to "put your own oxygen mask on first". That means taking time for yourself each and every day-even if it's just 10 minutes. If you're like me, caring for an aging parent can be overwhelming and at times feel isolating. I've found that the only way to maintain my sanity is by taking time for myself. This doesn't mean I don't care for my mom or that I'm not there for her when she needs me; it means that I make sure to take time each day (or week) to focus on my own wellbeing.

It's not always easy, but it's essential if I want to be emotionally and mentally available to help my mother-in-law  through this difficult transition in her life.

Have you found ways to take care of yourself while caring for an aging parent? Please share your tips in the comments below - I would love to hear them! 

About the Author

Milan Perry, HHP, MH

World-renowned wellness chef with an extensive background in nutrition, wellness and herbalism. She is the Culinary Nutrition & Wellness Chef of the Chic Women Don't Diet (CWDD) culinary + wellness coaching program. And serving a small local Chicago clients as a Gourmet Chef. Milan went from working as a commercial print model which emphasized focusing on self to reinventing herself to focusing on the inner beauty that starts with health, wellbeing and the quality of food we eat. 

**If you are looking for a new, healthy way get healthier without dieting, I hope this blog post has been helpful in helping you find that path.

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