What to do when caregiving is overwhelming
Caring for an older adult is an all-consuming and demanding job. This can easily lead to feelings of overwhelm – sometimes it’s just too much.
We found a great article from Retro Housewife Goes Green with 5 things you can do to improve the situation when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
We especially like these tips because they help you feel more in control and set you up to reduce stress in the future. They dig you out of that “overwhelmed caregiver” rut.
We share highlights from the article and explain how to use these 5 tips to reduce caregiver stress.
5 coping tips for the overwhelmed caregiver
1. Set up good routines
Don’t underestimate how helpful a daily routine will be – both for you and your older adult.
A routine means doing the same basic activities around the same time every day. This gives structure and a natural flow to the day.
Routines help seniors feel more secure because they know what to expect. This reduces struggles over everyday tasks and improves sleep.
Routines reduce stress and headaches for you as well. When your older adult is calmer and more cooperative, the day goes more smoothly for everyone. Routines also reduce the need for you to make dozens of little decisions throughout the day.
2. Use a planner or calendar
Caregiving makes life complicated. Relying on memory to know when doctor’s appointments are, when payments are due, and when prescriptions need to be refilled adds to your stress.
3. Take care of yourself
It’s easy to put off caring for yourself when there are so many things your older adult needs. In fact, it often feels like you have no choice.
But if we don’t take care of ourselves, everything else suffers – including how well you can care for your older adult. If it’s not managed, caregiving stress worsens your physical and mental health. Poor health could even cause you to become too ill to continue caring for your older adult.
We’ve got plenty of suggestions for how to take breaks and reduce stress here.
4. Have freezer meals on hand
We love the practicality of this tip! Preparing and freezing meals in advance removes a source of stress on those super tiring days. Plus, you’re more likely to eat something healthy if it’s already prepared.
Ready-to-freeze meals are also a great thing to ask family and friends to make. They may not be able to provide hands-on care for your older adult, but they could prepare a casserole for you to eat when you don’t have time to cook.
5. Build in extra time
In the hopes of being super productive, we pack as many tasks into our day as possible.
This is great in theory, but in practice, it adds extra stress. When you’re on such a tight schedule, there’s no flexibility for delays or if something unexpected comes up.
Plan extra time for everything. That way you don’t have to worry if something takes longer than expected or if you need an extra 5 or 10 minutes for a quick self-care break.
It never hurts to have some extra time.
Recommended for you:
- 5 Ways Caregiving Routines Make Your Life Easier
- 10 Ways Caregivers Can Take a Quick Break Right Now
- 6 Ways to Make It Easier for Caregivers to Take a Break
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Cardiff University Learning Central
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