Being a caregiver during a global pandemic is a unique experience. It means that you’ve got a little more to handle as you do your best to keep yourself and your elderly family member in good spirits and good health.
Do What You Can to Build Routines
Routines are incredibly stabilizing, both for you and for your aging family member. When you and she have solid routines, it’s much easier to get through something as unpredictable as a pandemic. Start out with one part of the day and build the routines so that they support one another all day long. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire day full of routines that flow.
Try to Avoid Sleep Meds, if Possible
If you or your senior is having trouble sleeping, try to avoid sleep medications unless they’re truly necessary. Temporary sleep meds can very quickly become something you have to rely on and it’s more important that you address what’s keeping you from sleeping well if you can. Also, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found evidence that sleeping pills, specifically Ambien, may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Work on Managing Stress
Managing stress properly is going to help both you and your senior to sleep better and to have better days as well. Using techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, and even meditation can all be incredibly helpful. Try to name what’s causing you stress. When you name things that are giving you trouble, you often can do more about them.
Get or Stay Active
Exercise is recommended often by doctors for solid reasons. The big reasons include moving your body, getting your blood flowing, and releasing chemicals that help with things like sleeping and stress reduction. Make sure that both you and your senior talk to your respective doctors and that the exercise you’re planning to do falls within those guidelines given by medical professionals.
Don’t Pressure Yourselves
If you and your senior find it difficult to be “productive” or to get a lot done, give yourself some grace. There’s a lot going on emotionally and mentally during something as life-changing as a global pandemic. Don’t pressure yourselves to do more than you can reasonably do at any given moment.
Take some time and talk about what’s working for each of you right now. Some days are likely to be better than others, but there are things you can do to help tweak your routines or help you or your senior to get more of what you need at any given time.