A positive attitude can make challenging moments in life easier to deal with in any situation. Realistically, however, the most even-tempered person can have times when anxiety, stress, and frustration contribute to a loss of patience. This is especially true when acting as a family caregiver for an older loved one. Fortunately, the techniques mentioned below can help keep your cool while providing care.
Be Mindful of Your Own Health
If you’re not at your best, it often becomes more difficult to stay patient while caring for a senior. Make an effort to keep your own health in mind by:
• Keeping up with recommended medical appointments and checkups
• Talking to your doctor about any health concerns you have
• Finding ways to get regular exercise – which has both physical and mental health benefits
Empathize for Patience
Put yourself in the place of your loved one. If mom or dad has dementia, for instance, think about what it’s like to become confused or alarmed easily. This will give a different perspective as you provide care and help you keep your patience
Briefly Walk Away
If possible to do safely, walk away from a situation that’s testing your patience. Try going for a short walk or taking a few minutes in a different room. Do whatever you have to do to regain your focus.
Use Relaxation Techniques to Restore Patience
For times when you’re able to walk away, use that moment to default to a relaxation technique to regain your composure. Deep breathing and mindful meditation, for example, are relaxing methods most people can easily do pretty much anywhere.
Consider Professional Senior Care
In some cases, it may be possible to get a helping hand from other family members when you’re struggling to be patient. Another way to get some help for mom or dad is to consider professional senior care options. By having access to an extra set of hands for certain tasks, you’ll be in a better position mentally to handle more demanding aspects of care. In-home care options can also play a role in helping you be more patient by:
• Giving you a worry-free way to take longer breaks with respite care
• Allowing your loved one to get help with bathing, cooking, transportation, and other needs so you don’t have to attempt to juggle too many tasks at once
• Giving your loved one another trusted source of care to rely on so they’re not as anxious or stressed either
With caregiving, it’s often possible to find a healthy balance between the care you provide for mom or dad and professional assistance provided in your loved one’s home. By easing your stress in this way, you may also find yourself in a better position to stay patient when interacting with your loved one.