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Caring for your aging parents? Take care of yourself first.

Caring for your aging parents? Take care of yourself first.  If you are looking after your parents today, chances are you are doing this next to your regular job. Where in the past children were able to provide care and support their parents, today’s financial and social pressures make it more and more difficult.  You may find yourself looking after your parents, your children, perhaps even your grand children while maintaining your career. Enough reason for stress? I would say YES. As a company we’re here to provide support where it makes sense. More important is that you continue to take care of yourself first.   The Fraser Health Authority published a useful handbook for Care Givers. This handbook provides some great tips on how to look after yourself while caring for the ones you love.

“Caregiving can be very stressful – acknowledge this.”

“Take care of yourself first”

  1. Caregiving can be very stressful – acknowledge this.
  2. Take care of your own needs and take a regular break from your caregiving duties to rest and renew your energy.
  3. Set aside regular times to do things you enjoy like, taking a bath, visiting with friends, watching a TVshow from start to finish, reading, getting your hair done, listening to music, catching up on your sleep. Remember this is your time to rest and recharge your batteries.
  4. Exercise – walk, swim, jog, play golf, work in the garden. Do some stretching. Try Tai Chi or Yoga.
  5. Eat a well-balanced diet. Good nutrition is important to your health.
  6. Have regular check-ups. Talk to you doctor about any health problems. Use medications with care.
  7. Try to get enough sleep. Although it may be difficult, sleep is important for staying healthy. If you have trouble getting to sleep, try breathing or relaxation exercises (there are books or tapes to help).
  8. Build a support network. Keep in touch with friends. You need a life apart from your caring role. If you cut yourself off, you are also cutting off the support that friends will give you. And you will find it hard to pick up the pieces of your life when you are no longer spending so much time caregiving. You might like to join a support group. It is a good way to meet new people who have the same concerns you do.
  9. Don’t try to be superman or superwoman. Be realistic. Think about what really matters most to you. Let the less important things wait and learn to say “no”.
  10. Think about your supports and use them. Talk with other family or friends who could share the responsibilities.
  11. Find out what resources are available in your community and make contact before or when you need help.
  12. Reward yourself. Remember to congratulate yourself for all your successes, however small you feel they are.
Fraser Health Handbook for CareGivers