caregiver stress

How to Handle Caregiver Stress Taking Care of Your Parents

Caring for your elderly parents isn’t easy. It puts serious demands on your time, energy and emotional resources. This is on top of your existing responsibilities.

The resulting stress can compromise your own health and well-being. So let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to handle caregiver stress.

Find an Elder Care Lawyer

You’re likely to find yourself taking on increasing responsibility for your parents’ legal matters over time.

Navigating those legal matters is stressful because it’s not just dealing with their bills. You may find yourself managing everything from retirement benefits and estate planning to securing a health care proxy.

An elder care lawyer will get you up to speed on the issues and documents you need to know about, which helps you plan ahead.

Support Groups Reduce Caregiver Stress

Caring for aging parents brings a unique set of challenges. Not everyone will be able to relate to your experience, which often magnifies feelings of isolation.

A caregiver support group can reduce your stress by connecting you with others who will empathize with your experiences. In addition, the group can often serve as a resource for locally available services to lighten your caregiving workload.

Lean on Your Social Network

You don’t need to vent to all of your friends to get some stress reducing benefits from your social network. The mere act of socializing has several benefits, including:

  • an immune system boost
  • an improved sense of well-being
  • a reduction in depression
  • longer lifespan

The socializing doesn’t even need to be complicated. A cup of coffee with a friend or chatting with your neighbors can do the trick. Evan a video chat with an online friend can go a long way toward improving health and mental well-being.

Say No to Draining Tasks

Saying no is often difficult when it’s friends or family asking. It’s still crucial to evaluate requests against your available time and energy. If you struggle to find time to attend social gatherings, you won’t have the time to plan or host one.

Trying to take on those tasks will only make your caregiver stress worse. Saying no isn’t being childish or selfish. It’s a necessary act of self-care.

Deploy Technology

The blistering rate of technological innovation means that you have new tools to lighten your caregiver workload.

A tablet computer may well be the most powerful of these tools. The same video chat software that lets you socialize will let your parents do the same. You can set up the tablet to connect to a video feed at the front door, letting your parents see who’s knocking and even talk with them.

The upshot is that every task delegated to the tablet is one less you must personally manage, which helps reduce caregiver stress.

The challenges of caring for elderly parents are complex and many. While you will experience some caregiver stress, it doesn’t need to be debilitating.

If you feel that you or your parents need additional support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. With 25 years of personal consulting experience and a genuine desire to help clients, you can count on me to help you handle the caregiver stress you’re experiencing.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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Please note: I do not offer the services of a virtual counselor, therapist or geriatric psychologist. Online personal consulting is not intended to take the place of traditional face-to-face therapy, clinical assessment or treatment.

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