In many families, the responsibility for senior care falls on children or other family members. When a senior parent or other person in your family has medical issues or dementia, caregiving can be a round-the-clock job. With all the focus on caring for the senior, it can seem that there is little time to stay healthy and take care of yourself. However, self-care is crucial for caregivers. Caregiving demands time, effort, and emotions that can sometimes cause stress. While you’re focused on your loved one’s nutrition, you may skip preparing healthy meals for yourself. Today, we’ll talk about some of the things that caregivers can do to stay healthy and relaxed while minimizing the effects of stress. Take breaks when you can. Breaks are an important part of your physical and mental well-being. You can take breaks by hiring a part-time caregiver to step in and give you some time for yourself. If finances are an option, check with local government assistance programs from the Department of Human Services to see if any low- or no-cost respite services are offered in your area. When you do get those breaks, do something just for yourself. This can be anything from getting some much-needed sleep to getting dressed up for a night out. Organize. Things can be chaotic when you’re caring for a senior and managing your own life at the same time. Spend some time organizing to save you some hassle later. For the senior, organize legal papers, medications and medical information, and living areas so that everything is easy to find quickly. Keep lists – shopping lists, medication schedules, etc. – to avoid confusion and get everything done on the right schedule. Get support. Search for local organizations that offer free caregiver support groups. Meeting others in the same situation makes your job as a caregiver easier through tips and valuable ideas as well as emotional support. Don’t forget to enlist the help of your personal friends and other family members, who can help you keep it all together. Prioritize your personal health. A healthy diet, exercise, plenty of rest, and plenty of water will keep your body healthy and help fight off the effects of stress. Stress can cause you to gain weight (or lose too much), have frequent headaches, feel tired all the time, feel irritated, angry, or even depressed. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your own health while caring for your loved one. Be realistic. There’s a lot to do when you’re a caregiver, and sometimes, it’s just too much for one person. Don’t jump in and reorganize all your parents’ cabinets when you’re already caring for them all day and night. Instead, gather a team to help you out. And sometimes, a senior’s medical needs are just too extensive to care for him or her at home. If that’s the case, consider a senior living option that can give you peace of mind in a place your parents will enjoy. When it’s ready to try senior living services, contact us at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living. Our dedicated care professionals will help make the senior living transition easy for your loved one, with facilities designed to make seniors feel right at home, with interesting activities, helpful amenities, an emphasis on wellness, and a welcoming sense of community. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information.