By Madison Wallace, RN, Nurse Care Manager
The beginning of a new year is a great time to review your caregiving methods. Your review should include what is working well for you and what needs to be changed.
Maybe you are caring for your children while also caring for your aging parents. Perhaps you are having trouble with challenging behaviors. This frustration may cause resentment, clouding your judgment for good caregiving. Taking stock this time of year lets you clear your mind and prepare for a fresh start in your caregiving strategies.
Caring for a difficult, or even toxic, parent is a challenging situation for any caregiver. It can make you feel helpless, resentful, and frustrated. It can often leave you conflicted on your approach to caregiving. Make a New Year’s resolution to create healthier strategies.
5 Caregiving Resolutions
Ask for Help:
Many times, just having a stranger’s input can get parents to comply with requests easier than they would with a loved one. Parents can be stubborn with those who are close to them. The care managers at The Option Group are the senior life care professionals that can fill this role. Their main job is to take the pressure and responsibility off you. Give yourself a break!
Don’t Stress About the Little Things:
The more you spend time with a difficult parent, the more they can drive you crazy. It is important not to know and recognize the behaviors and situations that are less urgent than others. Choose your battles. Let some of the little things slide. You will need your energy for the more significant needs of your loved one.
Take Time to Process and Embrace your Feelings:
There can be many emotions that come with caring for difficult parents. Feeling resentment, guilt, sadness, and even anger is not abnormal. Recognize your feelings and relate them to the present situation. Ask yourself, how can I process these emotions and break harmful cycles?
Protect Your Mental Health:
Caring for a difficult or even abusive parent can weigh heavy on oneself. It requires patience and some thick skin. Behavior can become worse and more extreme as your loved one ages. Always remember, your parent is ill. The behaviors stem from their illness. Knowing what they say and what they do likely has very little to do with you. They are in a situation where they have little to no control. It’s essential not to take it personally. Always stay calm and consistent in your care.
Make Yourself a Priority:
Caregiving is emotionally and physically exhausting. It isn’t easy balancing your own life, children, and working with your parent’s needs as well. It is easy to place your needs on the back burner – schedule time for yourself. Read, exercise, meditate, walk outside, take a break, and ask for help when needed. You are no help to your loved one when you are not caring for yourself.
Let the new year be the best year of caregiving for you and your family. Consider outside resources as much as possible to take the load off and reduce the stress of caregiving.
If you or someone you care about needs additional support to help cope, The Option Group is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our professional care management team for assistance.
About The Option Group: Founded in 2010, The Option Group’s compassionate team of experienced Certified Life Care Managers and Educational Advocates provides services for families, their loved ones, medical professionals, and professional family advisors in Maryland, Northern Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The firm understands the challenges of caring for individuals who need assistance throughout their lifespan due to aging, dementia, disability, or serious illness. Our skilled providers possess over 100 years of combined experience navigating the healthcare maze and accessing hundreds of resources. The Option Group helps families spend quality time with their loved ones, providing clear choices that lead to better care. For more information, visit www.theoptiongroup.net or call 410-667-0266 (MD) or 717-287-9900 / 610-885-8899/ 215-896-6756 (PA) / or 302-858-6449 (DE). For Minor & Young Adult Life Care Management or Educational Services, call Mary Jo Siebert at 410-967-0122 or 443-318-4244.