It’s Not Selfish: Why Family Caregivers Need to Practice Self-Care

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Family caregivers tend to take their duties so seriously that they feel guilty for taking time off to take care of themselves. While practicing self-care is sometimes viewed as a selfish act, the truth is you need to make it a priority. If you still experience feelings of guilt when you take a break, you can use this guide to understand why self-care isn’t selfish. In fact, it allows you to take even better care of your senior loved one. 

Recognize Why You Might Feel Selfish

It’s easy to view spending extra time on yourself as selfish, especially if you think of self-care as involving luxury activities such as getting a massage or manicure. However, self-care can also take the form of going to the doctor or visiting the dentist. These are things you make sure your loved one does, and you should also do them for yourself. You may also feel selfish about spending time away from your loved one. However, making sure there’s someone responsible for meeting his or her needs can help you feel better about stepping away from your duties. 

Family caregivers don’t have to risk their own wellbeing to make sure their loved ones continue to receive high-quality care. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Philadelphia, PA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Understand Why Self-Care Is Important

Some of the reasons self-care is important are obvious. For instance, going to the doctor helps you stay physically healthy so you can manage your duties. You should also know there are other benefits of self-care that are less obvious. Relaxing and decreasing stress helps you maintain a calmer attitude with your loved one, which can ease potential strains in your relationship. Taking breaks also helps you stay alert so you’re less likely to make a mistake with your loved one’s care. 

Find Time to Take Care of Yourself

Now that you understand why you’re not selfish for taking a break, your next big obstacle is to figure out how to practice self-care. After all, your days are busy, and your loved one might not be able to be left alone. There are two main ways to find time for self-care. First, you need to identify short five-minute strategies you can use to relax while you’re on duty, such as deep breathing exercises. Next, choose a caregiver to take over when you need to take a longer break. Knowing someone is already dropping by makes it more likely that you won’t feel guilty about going to the gym or scheduling a doctor’s appointment for yourself. 

Family caregivers are often at high risk for burnout, and hiring a professional caregiver can provide a much-needed source of support. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide at-home care. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

Use These Strategies to Practice Good Self-Care

Good self-care involves using several different strategies to make sure your needs as a caregiver are met. Start by taking care of your physical needs. You can exercise along with your loved one and follow a healthy diet plan that aligns with his or her diet. You must also make sure to get enough sleep, even if that means hiring an overnight caregiver. Finally, carve out time for some simple pleasures. Being able to finish reading a novel or take a class allows you to maintain a sense of identity. 

It’s crucial for family caregivers to take good care of themselves, and if you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, remember you don’t have to manage everything all on your own. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Philadelphia elderly home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (215) 645-4663 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.


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