How To Care For Yourself While Caring For An Elder Parent

Your Health Comes First

When I started caring for my mom I felt as if I had plenty of energy for everything.  I was still working a full-time job, doing house in the evenings and some home repairs in the evening, looking after my teenage son, and caring for my mom.  The reality was that I was running on adrenaline.  It is not that it was a life or death situation but once I saw I was capable of achieving so much in a day or a week, I was filled with power.  So, more chores began to pile on, more responsibilities.  What I was not paying attention to was the amount of damage I was doing to myself.
I sacrificed my eating habits, stopped exercising, no longer followed my vitamin regimen, stayed up late and woke up early, and gave up the activities that I love.
  • Delegate, you cannot possibly do it all
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Eat well
  • Rest when possible
  • Exercise
  • Find an outside activity that will not take all your time but that will allow you to get away.

DELEGATION

Delegation is not necessarily the easiest thing to do in this list.  To some it is barking orders, but if you want to delegate and forget it then you need to assess the skill sets of the individuals.
Drawing back on my management skills, especially those skills when I began to manage, I used to call on people and assign a job.  Most of the time a job that I didn’t want to do.  Regardless of whether the person was prepared for the job or not I will assign the duty at whim and he/she had to find a way of getting it done.  The result?  Chaos.
The task was either never done or not done right, it caused animosity against me from my team, loss of product, I experienced high levels of anger on a continuous basis, and wasted time because we ended up redoing tasks anyway.  Well, to us, at least to me, that was the way to lead a cooking line.  Chefs don’t ask questions, are always right, and have high expectations of his/her team.  What I was missing, which I learned the hard way was, that the chefs know the ability and potential of each team member.

WAYS TO DELEGATE
I think it is our polite upbringing to offer ourselves to assist and help a person in need.  As well as it is in our polite upbringing to say yes and thank you without giving the offer another thought.  Then, when we do need the help we call some of our helpful friends to find out they really can’t help us.
This happened to me a little while ago.  I needed help with a few things and when I started calling people, I could not find any help.  At first, I was a bit aggravated, after all these are people who offered their help, but then I remember the skills from working in the kitchen.  I sat down and thought of the individual skills each person has to offer and the areas I need the most help.  For example, when I need to talk and vent I call my mother-in-law.  Groceries and small errands, I call my sister.  If I need to go somewhere for a few minutes, my son will step in.  If I need to be out for longer I schedule with a family friend to come and sit with my mom, and so on.
I think it is a good idea to have understand your needs or at least guess in which areas you are struggling with, so when friends and family start offering help you can at least ask are you willing to come in on Saturday mornings and help me with the yard?  This aspect is a bit uncomfortable for me, because I feel as if I was putting them on the spot, but the reality I am not.  There are no hurt feelings, just the reality of the needs at hand.  I am now thinking of starting a group on Facebook in which I can open up some tasks of the week, like cleaning the yard, painting, etc. if anyone is interested in coming and helping they can let me know.

VITAMINS, MINERALS, AND EATING WELL

We hear, see, and read it EVERYWHERE, but it is true.  Eating healthy food is good for you, lol.  Why do I say this?  As a child I had anemia and was hospitalized due to low blood counts.  After treatment the one thing the doctor suggested was a balanced diet.  Growing up, eating has been a great deal of my life, so much so I became a chef.  Well, now that I am caring for my mom I have put my hunger pains aside.  This lead me to have a drop on Vitamin B12.  It took me a few days to recover, which doesn’t help when you are caring for someone 24/7.

Vitamins

I quickly bought more vitamin B12, sublingual methylcobalamin 5000 mg.  B12 is sold at different levels/intensities and levels of.  Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and the formation of red blood cells.  A B12 deficiency leads to lethargy, low energy levels, and headaches/dizziness, breathlessness,  poor memory and depression.  If you are experiencing any of these issues, please consult with your physician.  Request a complete blood work evaluation and check your vitamin B12 and iron levels.  As with anything, there are much debate as to what and how to ingest vitamin B12.  Please conduct your research and come to the conclusions that best suits you.
While shopping for B12 I came across Adrenal Support.  The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine glands which produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol.  These hormones are key factors of our fight or flight response.  When we are undergoing high levels of stress, like managing a kitchen, fixing a house with low funds, or/and caring for a parent or relative, we are continuously living with high levels of adrenaline and cortisol.  What ends up happening is that the adrenal glands are now working overtime to maintain the energy needed for the body to handle these levels.  Eventually the glands will become exhausted.  This too was a factor for me a few weeks ago.  Not only my B12 levels dropped but my Adrenals were also exhausted.
The Adrenal Glands
The adrenal support I bought has a combination of herbs including Ashwagandha  Ashwagandha is used as an “adaptogen” to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic.  This addition has helped me rest and stay rested.  I am actually waking up rested and staying awake once I am out of bed.  Again, do your research and come to your conclusions before taking any over the counter products.
Healthy Eating
As for eating, I am not going to beat a dead horse with information, but eating high fat/sugar foods lead to clogged arteries.  Clogged arteries increases blood pressure, which in turn increases your chances for heart attacks, hypertension or any other severe health issues.  Not only that, it also drains the energy levels and fogs the mind, which means that your productivity around the house will decrease.

REST AND RELAXATION

Easier said than done!  At least in my house.   I see a list of chores and projects everywhere I look.  Each project interrelated with the next!  Sometimes I don’t even know where to start.  Make sure to schedule Me time.  In my Me time I work on this blog, work on my craft projects like sewing, crochet, or beading.  I watch Netflix or catch up on reading my yoga books so I can better prepare for teaching my yoga classes.  Me time is also teaching yoga.  I teach about an hour per day, 3~4 days a week.  It is not much money but for one hour I am not tinkering with the house.  I also exercise.  Exercise is a great stress release.
I ask a friend to cover for me if needed,  so that I can step out and do one of the activities outside the house, but for the most part I take the time while my mom sleeps.
Remember, caring for someone, be it a baby, a person with a disability, or an aging parent does not mean you have to forsake yourself.  Like the oxygen masks in a plane.  Take care of yourself first, so you are in good ability to care for the other person.  Beware of the demand the other person puts on you.  Yes, you are there to make their situation more comfortable, but you have to set some boundaries for yourself.  A happy caregiver makes for a happy patient and a memorable experience for all parties involved.
Are you caring for a parent or someone in your life?  What are your tips to keep yourself healthy and going?  Share your ideas in the comment section!

About Zoe Brooks

I am a home owner with bad credit and low funds who needs to fix her house. Althought I have not studied construction, lawn and garden, electricity or plumbing, I still try my best to fix my issues quickly, safely, and permanently.

2 comments on “How To Care For Yourself While Caring For An Elder Parent

  1. Needed this a few years when I put on 40 pounds by doing all the bad things you said. Eventually they will come off.

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