Do YOU take enough time for yourself — to rest and refresh you — when you’re the major (or even minor?) provider of care to your elderly parents? Many POParents find it particularly challenging to balance tending to our own needs when tending to the needs of our senior parents. We sometimes overlooked ourselves when we parented our small children too, didn’t we? It didn’t work so well then, either…but we were younger…
KNOW THIS: if you’re a POParent neglecting you, at this point in YOUR life, you run the risk of jeopardizing not only your caregiver abilities but your own health as well!!
Here are 6 “tips” to prevent caregiver stress and improve your life when POParenting:
1. Scout out a good geriatric M.D.: Geriatrics is a specialty that focuses on older folks, just as pediatrics was a specialty you needed for your children. Many POParents are not so young themselves. While you might have had your family physician for many years, you’ll get better help from an expert in the health and diseases of the older American.
2. Keep track of all drugs and supplements: Know the names and dosages of every prescribed drug and/or supplement you and your parents use and track daily usage. Fill all prescriptions through one pharmacy that checks for harmful drug interactions.
3. Make your paperwork easier: Create a list of your and your parents’ medical history, contacts and current medications. List all such items on a transportable computer device (a computer stick is best) so you can provide accurate information at any emergency room and to your doctors. Update that list when there are changes.
4. Encourage eating healthy, regular meals and drinking lots of water: If you encounter problems, find out why and see how to create workable solutions to encourage them to eat well and to drink plenty of water. Especially in the warm months, but all year long, most seniors under-hydrate and we’re all about 70% water.
5. Encourage activities which involve socializing with peers and laughter: Yes, laughter and having fun with other people is healthy! We never outgrow our need for fun and paying attention to what gives you and your parents joy will make this time in all your lives not only less stressful but more meaningful and enjoyable.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff: Pick your battles, choose what you let upset you and keep your main focus on where it should be — providing kindness and being attentive. And remember the rest of this tip: IT’S ALL SMALL STUFF!
Share the ways you’ve found to make your POParenting easier, less stressful, more healthy and mostly, more fun by commenting below.