How To Avoid Getting Overwhelmed When Caring For An Elderly Parent Or Grandparent

30 December 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


If you have an elderly parent or grandparent who can no longer live independently, one option is to stay home with them and care for them yourself. This can be a very rewarding endeavor, providing you have the career and financial flexibility to take it on. However, it can also be a very demanding endeavor -- if you don't approach it correctly, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed and burnt out within a matter of weeks! Here are three strategies that will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed when serving as a primary caregiver for an elderly relative. 

Take days off.

Caring for an older person is more than a full-time job -- it can occupy every hour of every day. Try to find a way to take one day off per week. Perhaps there is another family member who can take over for you once per week. If not, you can talk to in-home care companies in your area and ask about their respite care services. Most companies of this type will send a skilled caregiver or companion to your home just one day per week if this is what you need.

Another (likely more financially viable) option is to talk to your elderly relative's church or community center. They may know of someone who can spend at least a few hours per week with your loved one so you can take some time for yourself. Spend your "alone" time wisely. Do things for yourself, like getting your hair cut or getting lunch with a friend, so that when you return to caring for your loved one, you feel refreshed and renewed. 

Pick your battles.

There are bound to be daily struggles when you're caring for an older relative. Maybe he or she insists on wearing a shirt backward, eating with a fork when a spoon would be more appropriate, or keeping items in the kitchen that you really think don't belong there. If you try to correct every little thing that your loved one does strangely, you'll drive yourself crazy. Pick your battles. If a strange habit or behavior is not dangerous for your loved one or anyone else, let it go. You'll have more energy left to deal with the battles that really do matter -- like making sure they take their medications on time and wash thoroughly.

Talk to someone.

When it's just you and your loved one at home all day, it's easy to feel alone in your struggles and to bottle up your feelings inside. However, talking about the struggles you face when caring for your loved one will keep you from getting overwhelmed. If you can, try scheduling monthly or bi-weekly appointments with a family therapist. He or she can listen to your concerns and guide you in making the best decisions as you navigate the complexities of caring for an elderly loved one. If seeing a therapist is not an option, find a faithful friend who is willing to lend an ear on a regular basis. Just having someone there to listen will help you feel so much better. 

For further assistance, contact a local professional, such as Accu-Care Nursing Service Inc.