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Health 309 views Aug 13, 2019
How To Cope With Caring For An Elderly Mother

Information, resources and tips to help you care for yourself whilst caring for an elderly relative, which can be very challenging.

 

Statistics tell us that within the UK, 1 in 5 people aged between 50 and 64 are carers  and around 65% of older carers (aged between 60 and 94) have long-term health issues themselves on top of caring. The same studies also revealed that nearly 70% of older carers say that their caring position causes them to have problems with their mental health.

Not all older carers are caring for their parents and could be caring for their children, partner or friend. However, many older carers are caring for their parents, or one of their parents, which can have many unique challenges including:

 

  • Struggling with the role reversal with your parent
  • Handling the various moods and emotions of a parent who requires care (they may feel bitter, embarrassed or resentful)
  • Handling the physical and emotional behaviour of a parent with dementia
  • Missing a parent who is no longer 'themselves' because of dementia
  • Dealing with the responsibility of keeping a parent safe and in good health
  • Coping with the physical challenges of caring
  • Balancing family life and a career with your caring role
  • Struggling with your own emotions of resentment, anger, bitterness, sadness and more

 

These are just some of the challenges that can arise when you care for a parent. When caring for your Mother, there may be particular challenges that come from your position. Your Mother may have been the one you always turn to for advice, the one you always admired for her strength and togetherness, the one who always looked out for you. It can be so hard to handle the change, particularly when the bond with your Mother is strained whilst you need to provide adequate care to ensure her wellbeing.

 

How To Cope With Caring For An Elderly Mother

 

To care for your Mother well, you must put yourself first. Unfortunately that is not always the main priority of caregivers. In fact, most caregivers struggle to put themselves first, which can result in caregiver burnout eventually. Caregiver burnout is where a person is physically and emotionally exhausted from caring and they are then unable to provide care to themselves or their loved one whilst trying to recover from the breakdown. It can take years to get over a breakdown, so it is important to try and avoid it. Can you include any of the following in your life to help you cope with your caregiver position?

 

  • Hobbies that are just for you
  • Exercise
  • A healthy diet
  • Abstinence from bad habits that you lean on to cope
  • Regular chats and support from your GP, friends, family and neighbours
  • Any activities that help you stay in touch with your own worth and identity

 

The more healthy and balanced your life is and the more emotional support you allow yourself to take, the better.

 

Is It Time To Consider Respite Care?

If you are doing everything you can to cope with caring for your elderly Mother but you know you need a little more support, perhaps it is time to consider respite care. Home care agencies can provide home care to your loved one as a one off, once a week, for a set time everyday, or for holiday cover. Professional carers will come to your home and care for your loved one, allowing you the time to relax, run errands, spend time with friends and family, or simply to get outdoors and get some time away from the home. If you think you might need more support long-term, you could speak to home care agencies about long-term at home care where the carer lives in your home and cares for your loved one. This is a great alternative to residential care and means your loved one remains at home with you, but you are able to relieve some or all of your caregiver duties.

 

It can be hard to swallow your pride and recognise that you can't do it all, all the time. To enquire about home care services or respite care, speak to some local care agencies. Also speak to your doctor about getting a care assessment for your Mother and take a look at The Live-in Care Hub for more information about live-in care. Your Mother deserves to be happy and healthy, and so do you. Reaching out for help is a really important step to take if you need some support with your caregiving role.