Dealing With Family Stress:
Caring For An Elderly Relative
Dealing with family stress which is caused by looking after an elderly relative is important for the health both physical and mentally for the whole family.
Caring for an elderly or disabled relative in your home can put a lot of pressure onto family life, with not only the main carer being affected by stress.
My partners family experienced this when he was a young child, causing not only one member of the family to have a near breakdown but also arguments amongst other members of the family including the children.
You can imagine how difficult dealing with family stress was for them all at that time.
Caring For The Elderly And It’s Affects
It is a fact of life that we are all living longer but unfortunately not necessarily healthier.
This can mean that in later years parents can become too old to care for themselves and unless you can afford specialist care, the caring comes down to you.
At this point, the new legislation known as the affordable care act (ACA) is in it’s beginning stages, so elderly care is still a topic of debate unfortunately.
This could generate feelings of Resentment, Worry, Guilt not to mention financial pressures and social restrictions.
All these feelings are natural and the first thing you need to do is to let go of the guilt of feeling these things.
Dealing with family stress of caring for an elderly relative but it can also be rewarding. Making sure that home life is as relaxed and enjoyable as it can be for all of you, is the secret to a long and happy time together.
It is also important that you take care of your own health, it is quite common for people to forget there own needs whilst caring for others. Caring for yourself not only physically but mentally too is important, I have people who have ended up having nervous breakdowns whilst caring for an elderly person, simply because they didn’t take time out for themselves.
Tips For Dealing With Family Stress:
Take regular breaks through out the day
Make time for yourself, arrange for someone else to take over the care for a few hours every week. Use this time to do the things you like doing, get your haircut, go to the gym, take a walk, go to the cinema.
If you have to care for someone both night and day, arrange for a carer to come in some nights to allow you to get some sleep. Also if possible take naps throughout the day when the other person is napping too.
Make sure you have someone outside of the family that you can talk to when things get on top of you.
Allow the elderly person to be themselves; don’t impose your lifestyle on them. Give them as much freedom as they need and be flexible about there likes and dislikes.
If possible encourage the relative to have a hobby or to meet with friends. Often there world can shrink because they feel like they cannot do things any more. Perhaps invite old friends round for tea or perhaps they would like to spend a morning at a day centre.
Make sure that you are getting all the financial help you are entitled too for being a carer. Hopefully this will relives some of the financial stresses involved.
If you need extra help don’t be afraid to ask for it from either other family members or professional bodies. Learning to be assertive will be a bonus in both getting what you need and also your own self confidence.
When stress begins to build up try:
More help and information about caring for your parents
UK – https://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CaringForSomeone/index.htm
USA – https://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c23141.htm
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