Stress is not uncommon among family caregivers. In fact, those adults who have stepped into the role of caring for their aging parents are much more likely to experience stress and the consequences related to stress than those who are not family caregivers. While some level of stress is completely normal, and can even help you to perform better in your daily functions, when stress becomes excessive, it can be dangerous. Suffering from high levels of stress can put you at risk for a variety of physical, mental, and emotional complications, including increased risk for illness and infection, headaches, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, irritability, exhaustion, and more. It is very important for you to find ways to ease your caregiver stress, and to manage the levels of stress you do experience. There are many ways you can do this, but one you may not have immediately thought of is aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy takes advantage of the fact that scent is the sense most closely linked to emotion and memory. This means when you smell something, your brain links it to memories you have of that smell, and the emotions that come up from those memories and thoughts. This happens naturally and involuntarily, but you can utilize it by choosing the smells you’re exposed to in order to elicit a specific emotional response, or memory. This can be one of the most effective and simplest ways you can ease caregiver stress, simply by creating a calm and happy emotional response to a specific smell.
Try some of these ideas to utilize aromatherapy as a means of easing caregiver stress in your care experience with your aging parent:
- Have your partner sleep with a shirt or small blanket, and then carry that with you. This will allow you to breathe in the smell of your partner, which can elicit feelings of calm, safety, love, and well-being.
- Think of your favorite places and experiences, and isolate the individual smells that remind you strongly of those places and experiences. Find scent oils or other items that carry those smells and have them with you. Breathing in those smells can bring to mind the memories and emotions of those places or experiences, and give you a quick “getaway” to rid yourself of stress.
- Research essential oils used for aromatherapy practices such as meditation and massage. Many people believe in combinations of certain essential oils to create smells thought to relieve stress, relax the mind, and rejuvenate the body. If you follow this approach, be sure to purchase high-quality, pure essential oils, and only use those deemed skin safe on your body. Putting these oils on your pulse points can allow you to have that smell with you for hours, without needing another object, or having others smell the aroma therapy too strongly.
Staying independent, maintaining their quality of life, and remaining in their own home as long as possible are priorities for most elderly adults. As a family caregiver, your priority is helping them to meet these goals, and one way you can do this is by integrating home care into your care routine. Having an in-home senior care services provider with your aging parent can help them to address the challenges or limitations that may prevent them from being able to feel independent, stay safe in their own home, and live a quality of life they deserve. With personalized services that range from transportation to personal care tasks to assisting with activities of daily living to helping preserve safety and health, this care provider can be a valuable resource to enhance your parent’s life, and also reduce your caregiver stress throughout your loved ones later years.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Monticello, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida