Caring For An Aging Mother
August 27, 2017
Pernille Ostberg cherishes memories of growing up with her mother in Michigan, and providing care later in life when her mom was struggling with Parkinson's disease. "Through the difficult times, we continued to celebrate Mother's Day together over a special meal, sharing memories of our lives," said Ostberg, president and CEO, Matrix Home Care, a statewide service provider.
Like many Floridians, Ostberg knows that caring for an aging or disabled mother can be a difficult challenge for family members - one that continues long after a Mother's Day celebration.
Nationally, more than 40 million Americans are caring for older relatives, according to the American Geriatrics Society. Many are caught in a bind, raising children of their own while watching over an aging parent.
"Caregiver burnout is quite common nowadays," said Alexander Fiuza, PhD, Matrix director of client services. "It is very normal to feel anger, depression, bewilderment and loneliness."
Here are 10 suggestions from Fiuza for avoiding caregiver burnout:
1. Take care of yourself. Get enough exercise, sleep and nourishing food.
2. Join a support group. Many community hospitals, churches, synagogues and health-related associations offer support groups free of charge.
3. Write things down. If you're not comfortable sharing feelings with a group, buy a journal and write down your activities and emotions.
4. Educate yourself. Understanding a relative's condition can help a caregiver plan day-to-day activities, as well as prepare for the changes that lie ahead.
5. Get support from friends and other family members. Ask another relative to take a parent to the store or perhaps a neighbor could cook an extra meal or two on the weekend.
6. Change the home environment. For example, installing grab bars in the bathroom or bedroom can help a senior with balance problems.
7. Take advantage of adult day care. Day care programs allow seniors to take part in social and recreational activities and eat healthy meals under the supervision of professionals.
8. Engage respite care. Ask a friend, relative or volunteer from a faith community to watch your relative for a few hours on the weekend.
9. Get professional counseling. When feelings of depression or anger become overwhelming, a trained counselor can provide support and help you keep a healthy perspective on life.
10. Do something nice for yourself each day. "Simple things like exercise, gardening, reading, watching TV or taking a walk around the block can do wonders to raise your spirits," Fiuza said. "Always remember that caring for yourself is the key to being a good caregiver for others."
Based in West Palm Beach with offices statewide, Matrix provides a complete array of services, home health care and disability management so injured employees can quickly return to work, independent senior care and specialty nurses' services, including wound care, infusion therapy and rehabilitation nursing.
Matrix Home Care