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03 Jan 2018

5 Ways to Practice Self-Care while Caring for Seniors


Topics: Senior Health

Caring for seniors is a demanding, yet rewarding job. You may feel the need to be on the clock constantly.

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Between emotional strain and constant demands and worries, you could end up feeling drained! Caregiver burnout is becoming more recognized, and more research is being done on the subject.

The conclusion is caregivers need to be sure they’re caring for themselves as well when they’re caring for seniors. Use these five tips to practice good self-care.

1. Ask for Help

You may feel you’re on your own when it comes to caring for seniors. Maybe your siblings live in another province or have responsibilities that prevent them from assisting. Friends may be well-meaning but may not provide the right kind of support or care.

You’re not alone. You can always ask for help. Even your siblings who live on the other side of the country can assist. Something as simple as a phone call and a sympathetic ear can be a huge help.

You can also seek help from professionals. There are many providers of senior care services you can turn to. They take your loved one’s health and care seriously.

2. Take Time for You

Whether it’s getting a sibling to help, hiring an at-home care provider to check in with your loved one a couple of times a week, or taking advantage of respite care services, you have options to ensure you get the break you need.

Many caregivers feel they need to be on duty around the clock, seven days a week. Even if your loved one never rings you up in the middle of the night, you might worry they will. You may neglect to eat well or you might sacrifice sleep to get things done.

Taking a break is as helpful to your loved one as it is to you. When you’re refreshed and relaxed, you’ll be able to provide better care.

3. Bust Stress

Taking a break every once in a while is one important way to bust stress. You can’t be on holiday forever, however, and the stress of caring for seniors is ongoing. Be sure to incorporate some de-stressing methods into your routine.

How can you reduce stress? Find an activity you enjoy. Physical exercise is one of the best ways to de-stress. Even a walk in the park can help you unwind. Other people may find their outlet in a creative endeavour such as painting or knitting.

The message is clear: Take a few deep breaths and immerse yourself in an enjoyable activity for a little bit. You’ll feel better.

4. Manage the Books

Many people talk about the importance of health when it comes to caring for seniors. They’re mostly referring to physical and mental health. Fewer people discuss financial health, yet it’s a huge factor in creating stress for caregivers.

If you manage the books well, you’re unlikely to have much stress stemming from finances. If you find yourself floundering or worrying about your loved one’s bills, it may be time to call in an accountant or create a budget. Knowing what you need and what you can afford will help you make better care decisions.

5. Prepare for the Future

Caring for seniors can seem never-ending. It will eventually come to a close. In the meantime, you should prepare for a changing caregiving situation over time. Your loved one may be in their own home right now, but they may need to move to long-term care eventually. They might be very capable right now, but they could need assistance in the future.

Keeping all of these things in mind will help you as you continue caring for seniors, both now and in the future.


Tennille Kerrigan

Tenille is the president of Senior Helpers Canada, the premier franchise that delivers on what families and their loved ones need most. She has bachelor’s degree in business administration from York University, and has over 10 years of experience as a business owner and director. With Senior Helpers, our franchisees provide the professionalism and expert care that families and their aging loved ones require.

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