When Aging Parents Make Us “Crazed”– Suggestions for Regrouping

Sometimes–more often than sometimes with older parents–stuff happens; you feel used up, drained…like there’s nothing left to give or share.  Who takes care of the caregiver?

Perhaps we need to look for ways to do it for ourselves.  Can we turn the “on” switch off for a time and regain our equilibrium?

The following suggestions have worked for me and for others I know. Basically they provide a time out– the mind rests, thoughts float around. For multi-taskers, health benefits accompany some of the suggestions below.

  • I like to walk on the high school track near my home.  8 times around (2 miles) definitely does it. The repetition of walking clears my head, untangles tangled thoughts that seemingly have no answers. Suddenly problems fall into place and I have answers and a plan of action. (Obviously walking has an added bonus: good exercise.  While it may seem daunting when fatigue prevails, the repetition necessitated by walking on a track never fails to clarify problems and illuminate  plans of action.)
  • Some people relax in the shower or tub. Their mind floats free and they have the experience described above.
  • Others say mindless hobbies can allow your mind to float free—ie. knitting, (one person who used to hook rugs tried it again with the hoped for results), jogging, weeding the garden, playing piano…
  • And sometimes a short break for something pleasurable, promotes uncluttered thinking; it’s like turning off, then restarting a computer.
  • Admittedly there are times when nothing seems to work. I’m fortunate to have a friend who is a social worker–skilled at understanding and she has worked effectively with people of all ages. A good social worker can get to the essence, partner in working out a plan of action, and offer constructive support when all else is a mess.  Finding the social worker (possibly one who specializes in geriatrics) takes time, but saves countless, future, frustrating times. 


2 thoughts on “When Aging Parents Make Us “Crazed”– Suggestions for Regrouping

  1. You are so right. Caregivers have to be creative about taking care of their stress and their health. For all of us at Inside Aging Parent Care finding ways to de-stress have been a highly challenging aspect of a very challenging role. We developed a lot of ideas along the way, but for me the quickest, easiest and most economical has always been humor. I share one take on caregiver humor as a stress reduction technique at http://www.desperatecaregivers.com/caregiver-stress-it-stresses-me-out-if-i-have-to-think-about-taking-care-of-myself-too

    • I appreciate your comments, Carol, and enjoyed reading your blog and knowing that gardening is a stress-reliever for you too. My 97-year-old mother-in-law is currently in rehab for a broken hip. This brought back vivid memories of my aging parents, 88 and 94, and the strategies I used to relieve stress during their difficult situations. While I love humor, I’m clueless as to how to harness it when responsibilities and concerns seem to dominate a 24-hour day. Ideas?

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