I hope you’re having a great week! For those of you who are taking care or managing care for a declining parent in addition to everything else you have on your plate, one thing we have to manage is stress – our stress! Oftentimes, we forget about personal stress management in light of everything else on our plates.
Let’s delve into the life our fictional character “Susan” as she helps her Mom with her caregiver journey. We are also going to look at how Susan’s personal stress management and give a few hints along the way.
It Starts with Journey Stop #1
If you missed it, please read our last article, where we told the beginning part of the story with Susan and her Mom. Mom has started relying on Susan more and more for assistance. Susan senses that if she didn’t stop by to help her Mom, some important things just wouldn’t happen. For example, if she didn’t stop by for her morning visit, Mom would not eat breakfast or take her morning medications. She would also not plan out her day, not plan lunch, miss her mid-day meds and may just stay in bed.
Only a few months earlier…
Susan would stop by Mom’s house in the morning as a nicety. Now Susan was stopping by Mom’s house because it was a necessity. Even though Susan was beginning to understand the reality of the situation, she felt these were just minor changes that happened with aging, so she gladly spent the extra one to three hours per day to help her Mom with some of these daily basics. Susan did not yet understand the stress management that would soon be required in her life.
Even though Susan loved her Mom and gladly provided help, the stress was starting to take a toll. Susan was spending a lot less time with her family and had missed most of her Grandson’s baseball season. She felt that this was not fair to them or to her. Her family had been very understanding and were helping with tasks for Mom. Even the in-laws were doing a few tasks such as picking up groceries and pharmacy items. Susan appreciated the help, but felt that this was starting to take a toll on everyone involved.
Susan’s two siblings live out of state and although they love Mom, they feel that they can’t do much to help from a distance. They call weekly and offer moral support and appreciation to Susan – but that’s about it.
Making it Work – Stress Management in Action!
Given that Susan’s Mom was very clear in her desire to stay at home, Susan knew she had to come up with a plan to make Mom’s wish come true, even though Mom’s condition was declining and her care needs were increasing. Here are a few stress management actions that Susan took to make caring for her Mom at home a little easier.
- Did a home care functional assessment of Mom’s house. As a result, Susan installed rails in the hall and in Mom’s bathroom. She also installed a walk-in tub and grab bars in the bathroom. She also widened doors where necessary and had a wheelchair ramp installed.
- Put a lift recliner beside Mom’s bed so she could get out of the chair by herself.
- Installed an electronic medication reminder to remind Mom to take her meds when Susan couldn’t be there. The system would also notify Susan if Mom failed to take her meds at the appropriate time.
Get the Siblings Involved
Susan and her siblings had a virtual family meeting via Zoom where they discussed ways everyone could chip in and help. Before this plan was crafted, the siblings appreciated Susan’s help, but they felt that they were on the sidelines and could only watch from afar rather than participate in the process. After brainstorming things that could be done remotely, the siblings discovered that there were many things they could do. AND they actually felt good about participating in Mom’s care. Even remote help can do wonders for your stress management!
Mom Centered Family Meetings can work wonders. Make a list of the tasks to be done, rally the troops and create a plan.
If you are struggling to achieve balance in these areas, be one of the first ones to receive information on our newly recorded Stability Without Stress course. For more information, go to stabilitywithoutstress.com
Best wishes to you In your efforts to balance your time between helping a declining parent and preserving your time for the benefit of you and your family.
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, considering we barely know each other. However, we fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.
In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust into lives as Family Caregivers. All caregivers have shared the same stress management advice – Join a community!
We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.
Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter
Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community to plug into would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!
Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link – help.mom/cc – and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.
Then they can enjoy weekly stress management tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!
Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!