Caring for Elderly Parents Requires Resilience. These Tips Can Help.

happy senior woman making a heart shape with her hands

Build the resilience you need when caring for elderly parents with these tips.

A time of crisis can bring out both the very best along with the worst in us. During the coronavirus pandemic, we have heard stories of people hoarding products and selling them to make an excessive profit, along with stories of people who selflessly met the needs of others despite their own individual fears.

The key to weathering the storms that are guaranteed to arise within our lives in a healthy and balanced way is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works closely with families of those serving in the military, and gives tips which can help build resilience through any time of crisis.

  1. Convey your reactions. It’s common to have a range of responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other difficult situations, dreams and nightmares, avoidance and withdrawal, difficulty with sleeping, irritability, problems with focus and concentration, and hypervigilance. What is essential is to make sure these reactions are short-term, and don’t progress into longer-term psychological problems. Admit your feelings, and communicate them with a friend, or write them in a diary.
  2. Maintain social connections. While your reaction may be to pull away from close friends during a crisis, staying in touch on a routine basis with people you care about is very important. Finding a support group, whether in person or online, is yet another great way to make sure you are forming and preserving social ties, allowing you to talk with other people in an identical circumstance.
  3. Take some time for self-care. This means different things to each person, but ought to include pleasant activities, engaging interests and hobbies, nutritious meals, a good amount of sleep, and physical activity. If you find it is hard to carve out time for yourself while caring for elderly parents, CareWorks Health Services is always available to partner with you to provide dependable respite care. Looking after yourself enables you to take better care of those you love.
  4. Realize what you are able to control – and what you cannot. Letting go of what’s beyond your control and focusing instead on what you CAN control is one of the fundamentals of resilience. Psychologist Mary Alvord, who founded Resilience Across Borders, explains, “Depression is hopelessness and helplessness, and so resilience is the opposite. No, you’re not helpless; you do have control over many aspects of your life.”

It’s always smart to seek professional counseling if your reactions to stressful situations are impeding your ability to maintain a sense of calm and to tend to the essential daily activities of living. And, look for signs that older loved ones are going through excessive degrees of stress so that you can obtain the help which they need as well.

Know that regardless of what life may bring, you can count on the top providers of senior care in Laguna Woods and the surrounding area at CareWorks Health Services to walk beside you with reliable, professional aging care services that inspire older adults to remain resilient and independent. Call us at (949) 859-4700 for additional information.