By Patty Fleischman
Stress has many sources for elderly parents and for their caregivers as well: financial issues, the loss of a loved one, the pressure of day to day care activities when meeting the needs of an elderly parent.
Discovering that you are no longer capable of taking care of yourself due to aging and must either rely on children or health care services for your needs causes a multitude of physical and emotional issues for many seniors.
For the elderly parent and a giver of elderly care, stress takes an emotional, mental and physical toll on individuals. This could lead to depression, illness, insomnia and other health conditions.
Sources of Stress for Elderly Parents
Many seniors and the elderly grow stressful over their situations and their lack of ability to care for themselves like they once used to. They worry over health problems and medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, and the constant fear of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson's.
Many seniors have ulcers or digestive problems, suffer from headaches, anxiety and depression. As well financial difficulties could be adding to everyday stress and worries.
Sources of Stress for Caregivers
Caregivers also face issues associated with frustration and depression while providing care for their elderly parent(s). Many caregivers give their all to take care of aging parents or elderly family members. Caregivers with high maintenance parents or those providing end-of-life care experience periods of frustration, sorrow, regret, and grief.
Some caregivers suffer from burnout and isolation. While caring for elderly parents does bring with it a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, the physical and emotional demands of the elderly, especially those suffering from different stages of Alzheimer's or end-stage disease processes require great amounts of patience and time.
Lessening the Stress
It is at this time that it is very important to surround oneself with a network of reliable and knowledgeable professionals to help with the financial and emotional challenges that seniors and their families face during these difficult times. There are a number of professionals who specialize in seniors’ issues, such as estate planning, legal matters, financial planning, clutter reduction, moving, and Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES®) who are trained specifically to work with seniors and their families. For more information about Senior Real Estate Specialists and what we offer please visit our Services page on our website www.seniorsfirstrealestate.com
Dealing with Stress
One of the most effective, yet difficult ways to deal with stress is to meet it head on. Determination, the support of friends and family members, and a willingness to discuss private or embarrassing issues is often the only way to effectively cope.
Whether you're a senior citizen worried about your finances or a caregiver who feels guilty because you're tired of caring for your elderly parents who have been diagnosed with dementia, here are some of the best ways to help cope:
- Involve someone – talk to someone! Now is not the time for pride or embarrassment. Talk about your concerns, voice your complaints, your feelings – you and your body will be grateful to get them off your chest.
- Take care of your own health! –Eat right. Exercise. Enjoy a day off for doing what YOU want to do. Enlist the help of neighbors, family or friends to help you achieve this.
- Get enough sleep! – Sleep is vital for good health. Make it a point not to worry about finances, relationships or concerns right before bedtime.
- Eat well! – A properly balanced diet will help stave off the blues for many individuals who also exercise and watch their weight.
- Find and maintain social contact with others – Interaction and support from others can make a world of difference for elderly parents and their caregivers.
Stress Relaxation Techniques
Management relaxation techniques will help you fight the battle against stress.
Here are a few:
- Muscle relaxation – Focus on tensing and then relaxing muscles found in your major muscle groups; shoulders, arms, legs, fingers and toes
- Visualization – Imagine a beautiful or relaxing place and then plant yourself right in the middle of it. Picture a mountain meadow, a beach, or a mountaintop – take yourself away!
- Engage in gentle exercise such as Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates
- Listen to soft music
Elder Care is a stressful task. It doesn't matter how much you love your elderly parent, it takes a lot of dedication, determination and compassion to care for someone 24 hours a day for weeks, months or even years. Don't feel guilty for those moments when you resent your task…..that's normal. However, do try to find ways to constructively deal with your issues, and with the issues of caring for elderly parents, to ensure that this added stress doesn’t become a burden.
(With information taken from Boomers - With - Elderly - Parents .com)
Please visit our website to find out more about how we help Seniors and their families.