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When it comes to aged care, nurturing should be a two-way street. Elders get complete attention when their carers are equally pampered.

If you’re caring for a parent or relative, the overwhelming duties can take a toll on your health. Here are a few ways to combat fatigue and maintain a rewarding experience for yourself and your ageing loved one:

Wellbeing for carers

Your relative will likely have habits which need to be closely followed, such as how they eat and sleep. If they have dementia, they tend to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. With this setup, you may not get a chance to rest well. Your immune system could be affected and eventually, you won’t be fit enough to assist.

Seek help from other family members

No one should understand you more than your siblings or cousins. Voice out your concerns and cooperate with those who are willing to help.

You can then jot down your priorities and work on a schedule to fulfil your own needs. Take turns on shifts with whoever is be available. Catch up with friends, try a new hobby or enlist in a class for your personal growth.

You don’t have to be alone in caring for your loved one. Team up with other family members or relatives.

Related post: Overcoming carer’s fatigue

Join a support group

There are numerous caregiving communities in Brisbane. Carers Queensland is a good place to start. Sign up for one which fits your lifestyle, schedule and interests. Professional help can ease the strain on you and ensure your loved one gets the help they need.

You cannot give what you don’t have. Take time to care for yourself. If you are well-rested, you’ll be better equipped to give your attention to your ageing loved one.

Wellbeing for the elderly

Most ageing parents don’t want to burden their children with having to cover their needs. It can get worse with caregiver burnout. As they see their children experience fatigue because of caring for them, their parents would prefer to be left alone. They’d choose this over seeing their sons or daughters feel trapped in the situation.

However, they shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s best to make them see the willingness of their loved ones to care for them. Here are two ways to encourage a positive outlook for your parents or grandparents:

Constant encouragement and acceptance

Ageing patients need quality rest since their systems can no longer bounce back as easily. If they’re always worried about being a nuisance, they wouldn’t feel secure in their own homes. They’d find it challenging to carry out even the simplest tasks, such as getting some sleep.

Encourage a peaceful mindset through thoughtful conversations with your loved one. This depends on the level of communication you already have. Building rapport will take time but you can begin with neutral topics, such as the meals they’d like to have or television shows they’re fond of watching.

Take a cue from your loved one’s hobbies and build a daily program from there. They can have book or poetry reading days, music listening sessions or vintage movie viewing. Conversations should naturally flow from the program you prepared, so make sure to keep an open mind and heart to understand your ageing loved one.

Related post: What to do if your parent is struggling at home

Community involvement

Wisdom comes with age. Your loved one probably acquired industry expertise through the years, and they may find delight in sharing their knowledge to younger generations. If your parent was a renowned musician, they can give classes to budding artists.

However, if they want to be in a circle with a generation similar to theirs, you can look for a community with activities they’d take interest in (chess, swordsmanship, literature, etc.).

Old age is a reality in every family’s life. As a carer, it’s also important to pamper yourself as you cover the needs of your ageing loved one.

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Tracey Silvester
Tracey Silvester is Executive Manager of Envigor and has more than 25 years’ experience in health and aged care services. Tracey is committed to ensuring that our elders are able to exercise their right to choose how they live their lives regardless of their ability or function. Tracey is a Registered Nurse and has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Management. She is also an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Management and a surveyor with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.