Supporting your parent’s mental health while juggling the demands of a full-time job can be a challenging but incredibly important endeavor. In today’s hectic world, many of us experience this situation, trying to balance our career responsibilities with the well-being of our aging parents.
The task becomes even more challenging when you take into account the percentage of older individuals with mental health conditions. Based on a study, about 25% of individuals aged 65 and older in the U.S. are coping with a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. Unfortunately, your parent could be among this number, requiring support for their mental health alongside your professional commitments.
In this blog, we will explore practical strategies and tips to help you navigate this delicate balance.
Understand Their Unique Needs
Understanding your parent’s unique needs is a crucial first step in providing meaningful support for their mental health while managing your full-time job.
According to a report by the National Poll on Healthy Aging, approximately 34% of adults aged 50-80 experienced isolation from others in 2022. Plus, around 37% of older adults felt a lack of companionship in the same year. These numbers indicate the importance of recognizing that your parent’s emotional well-being may be affected by factors such as isolation and loneliness.
To effectively understand their needs, start by having open and empathetic conversations with your parents. Ask them about their daily routines, interests, and social interactions. Are they maintaining connections with loved ones? Do they engage in hobbies or activities that bring them happiness?
By gaining insight into their day-to-day life and emotional state, you can identify areas where they might need additional support. Each individual is unique, and their mental health needs may vary, so taking the time to observe is key to tailoring your support effectively.
Hire a Full-Time Psychiatric Nurse
Hiring a full-time psychiatric nurse can be a game-changing decision when it comes to supporting your parent’s mental health. The assistance of a dedicated professional can significantly alleviate the burden on you while ensuring that your parent receives expert care.
A psychiatric nurse can work closely with your parent to develop a personalized care plan, administer medications if necessary, and provide therapy or counseling. Having a full-time psychiatric nurse can offer peace of mind, ensuring your parent’s well-being while you’re at work.
These nurses are well-versed in dealing with various aspects of mental health problems that your parents might be facing. They have undergone extensive training and acquired skills through higher degrees such as the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Specializing in mental health care, this degree takes the name of Master of Science in Nursing–Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN-PMHNP).
However, those who have not yet taken the leap to pursue a higher degree are now doing so through online modes. They are increasingly preferring online programs due to the high flexibility they offer. For them, MSN psychiatric nurse practitioner programs online work best. This approach enables them to balance education with their job responsibilities.
According to Rockhurst University, as a PMHNP, you will experience enhanced flexibility, personal satisfaction, an elevated income, and other benefits. Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals struggling with mental health challenges.
Seek Support From Your Family and Friends
Collaborating with your family and friends is a vital aspect of supporting your parent’s mental health while balancing the demands of a full-time job. Start by initiating open conversations with your family members and trusted friends regarding your parent’s circumstances. Share your concerns and responsibilities, and encourage them to contribute their time and support as well.
Pooling resources and responsibilities can help lighten the load and ensure that your parent receives consistent care. You can establish a caregiving schedule where family members and friends take turns to spend time with your parent or accompany them to appointments. This collaborative approach eases the burden on you while creating a support network.
Self-Care as a Caregiver
Prioritizing self-care as a caregiver is paramount. You can support your parents effectively only when you are healthy. Therefore, prioritizing self-care will always work in your favor.
According to a FlexJobs survey conducted in 2021, 41% of working parents reported a decline in their mental health compared to before the pandemic. In contrast, 38% of the general population experienced a similar decline. This data underscores the importance of self-care not just for your parent but for yourself as well.
To provide efficient support to your parent, you must focus on your own emotional well-being. This involves establishing limits and allocating time for activities that recharge you, whether it involves physical exercise, meditation, or indulging in a hobby. Recognize that self-care is not selfish but a necessary step in ensuring that you can provide the best care possible to your loved one.
Supporting your parent’s mental health while managing a full-time job is indeed a balancing act, but it’s one that’s worth the effort. By following these steps and being proactive in your approach, you can create a supportive environment that promotes their mental health. With dedication and compassion, you can successfully navigate the delicate balance between your full-time job and your parent’s mental well-being.