As caregivers for seniors know, this type of job is not a one-time thing. It can often go on for months or years at a time.
Caregivers for seniors, especially caregivers for elderly parents and caregivers for seniors with dementia, can quickly find themselves drained mentally and emotionally. It’s stressful work, to be sure, and usually, there’s no one to look after the caregiver except the caregiver themselves.
It’s important to look after your own well-being so you can continue providing care for others to the best of your ability. In this article, I will go over some advice that caregivers for seniors can use to take care of their mental and emotional well-being.
Taking Care of Caregivers for Seniors
Taking care of yourself doesn’t just mean staying physically healthy, it means staying mentally healthy as well. It’s easy to prioritize the former over the latter, or not even consider mental health a priority at all. Well, the truth is, when mental health suffers then it affects your ability to function in other areas of life.
One of the best things you can do to maintain good mental health is to be present — that means focusing on the here and now. Caregivers for seniors can often find themselves thinking about too many things at any given time.
- What has to be done today?
- What has to be done tomorrow?
- What has to be done next week? Next month?
- What am I doing well?
- What am I not doing well enough?
- Am I doing all I can possibly do for this person?
There are so many things to think about that it can make your head spin. All of it is important, certainly, but let’s try narrowing it down a bit. Just as your body has a finite amount of physical energy for a single day, it has a finite amount of mental and emotional energy as well. Worrying about things too far down the road will drain the amount of mental energy you have to focus on what needs to be done today.
With that said, caregivers for seniors can do themselves a favor by directing their mental energy toward solving today’s problems. Try worrying less about what needs to be done in the future or conjuring up “what if” scenarios. The person you’re caring for is counting on you to be there for them in the moment, which starts by putting your head in the right place.
Caregivers for seniors should also get in the habit of giving themselves more credit. It’s okay to pat yourself on the back from time to time and recognize when you’ve done a good job. In fact, I encourage it. Not everything is going to go exactly right all the time, but for every little thing that goes wrong, I’m sure there are at least 50 big things you’ve done right.
Again, this goes back to being in the moment. Don’t beat yourself up about something that went wrong yesterday, stay focused on doing the best you can today. Changing your way of thinking can go a long way, and these are just a few things that can help strengthen your mental and emotional well-being.