Cancer is a life-changing experience and one that can be extremely difficult on you as a family caregiver. If your elderly parent is going through a journey with cancer, you are going to be a tremendous source of support and care for them. While this is vitally important for them and their experience, it can cause you extensive stress. Managing this stress throughout the experience is important to maintaining your own health and well-being and ensuring that you are there for your parent to give them the level of care that they need and deserve.
Use these tips to help you manage your caregiver stress during your parent’s journey with cancer:
• Be willing to accept help. It is normal to want to do everything for your aging parent. You love them and want them to have the best quality care. Be willing to let go of this need to do everything and be willing to accept help from others. This ensures that your parent will get everything that they need while also giving you the time to focus on yourself and your own needs. Take time to rest and relax and be sure that you are taking care of yourself properly so that you can take care of your parent.
• Journal. When caring for a person who is going through cancer, you are going to experience a wide range of emotions and thoughts. Journaling these allows you to record what you are going through so that you can release them, evaluate them, and go back and review them to stay in touch with how you are dealing with the journey. This is also an opportunity for you to write out memories and good things that happen so when you need a boost, you are able to read through these.
• Think of your parent, not their disease. You will need to help your parent deal with the symptoms of their disease and offer reminders to take medications and go through treatments, but your entire focus of your care routine should not be on their disease. Instead, you should keep caring for your parent as an individual and the person who you love. Do not allow your worries about their sickness take away the joy and memories that you can have with them.
If you have noticed that your aging parent’s needs and challenges have increased to the point that you are no longer able to handle them comfortably, or your schedule and obligations have changed and you are no longer able to give your parent the attention that they deserve, now may be the time for you to consider starting home care for them. A care provider can step in to fill any care gaps that might exist, ensuring that your senior’s individual needs are met and that you are still able to handle your other obligations and needs in life. This eases your stress and gives both you and your aging parent peace of mind knowing that both when you are able to be with them and when you are not, they will have the care, support, assistance, and encouragement they need to live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering caregivers in Germantown, PA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands of Central Philadelphia. 215-274-0900.