You might not be thinking much about your own stress while your aging adult is edging closer to the end of her life, but it’s important to do so. Understanding when you’re experiencing more stress allows you to deal with it right then instead of letting it get worse.
You’re Having Trouble Eating
Most people respond to stress in one of two ways in regards to eating. Either they eat more than usual or they tend not to want to eat at all. Both of these responses can be dangerous for you, depending on your own health issues. Try to notice what you’re eating, when you’re eating, and whether you’re experiencing any specific issues around food. Practice mindful eating so that you can consciously decide how to keep your body fueled.
You Can’t Sleep
Another key behavior that can change when you’re under significant stress is your sleeping habits. You might find that you’re exhausted and loathe to even get out of bed in the morning. The flip side, of course, is that you’re unable to turn your brain off and sleep just won’t come to you. You might even find yourself sticking to your senior’s side when you would otherwise be asleep.
You’re Constantly on Edge
This is a time in your senior’s care when you might not know or be able to guess what’s coming next for your elderly family member. This can leave you feeling anxious and constantly on the edge of your emotions. This “fight or flight” response is one thing when it’s something that happens for a brief period of time. But in a situation in which you’re helping to ease your senior’s suffering as she nears the end of her life that extended anxiety response is not helpful at all.
You’re Experiencing Physical Aches and Pains
When you’re stressed and upset, your muscles are tense and you’re likely also in uncomfortable positions for longer periods of time. Couple that with the fact that you’re probably not sleeping or eating right, too, and you’re probably going to experience some physical pain. Besides muscle pain, you might also experience headaches.
You need to tune into how you’re feeling during this difficult time. Your family member is the one transitioning out of this life, but as her caregiver you still have work to do for her. If you’re overwhelmed by stress, lean on hospice care providers who can ensure your senior’s needs are met while you meet yours.
If you or an aging parent are considering end-of-life care in Philadelphia, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.