How to take care of an elderly relative while taking care of yourself, too
Caring for a loved one in their time of need is hugely rewarding It can also be very challenging and maintaining a healthy balance between being a carer and finding time for yourself is important. Here are some tips on how to care for an elderly relative while also ensuring you look after yourself.
Make a plan
Lists are one of the easiest tools for ensuring you stay on top of things and maximise efficiency. Write down your relative's day-to-day needs. This will quickly indicate those that are easy for you to help with and what you can find easy solutions for. For example, if cooking is tricky, perhaps you could batch cook meals for their freezer to easily heat up over the coming months.
Share the responsibility
It’s important to know your limits and not take too much on. Consider getting outside help with routine chores such as washing, ironing, cleaning and gardening. If you have siblings, family and family friends nearby, you could share the caring with them, so that you each do different tasks, such as cooking or cleaning, on different days.
Digital technology makes working remotely much easier and as the demand for flexible working rises, more and more employers are starting to accommodate. This means it's definitely worth speaking to your boss to discuss whether there is any flexibility in your working hours or days that will help you in your caregiving. Why not share some research that shows remote working boosts productivity as much as 16 per cent?
Look After Yourself
Try and factor in 'me time' and make it part of your daily routine. For example, perhaps you could set your alarm a few minutes earlier and read a book, go for a brisk walk or practise 10 minutes of meditation to quiet and calm the mind. Apps such as Headspace are a great place to start.
Finally, it’s always important to have something to look forward to, so keep a weekend clear every few weeks for a getaway, staycation or holiday.