Our aim at When They Get Older is support the families of older people to maintain as good as possible a quality of life for people in their senior years.

That means also looking at the welfare of our readers, who can be any age, any gender, in any location.

We can be so busy trying to support our families, that we forget to look after ourselves. In the long run, that’s not good for anyone.

Consider your stress levels

How do you know if you’re under more stress than is healthy? There are stress warning signs to watch out for.

Physical signs could include aches and pains in the shoulders, neck and back; headaches; sleeping difficulties; trembling; sweating; a heavy feeling in the chest; breathing difficulties, an increased heart rate; an upset stomach.

Emotional warning signs might include depression, lack of concentration, irritability, mood swings, a feeling of being overwhelmed, a change of behaviour, and panic attacks.

What can you do?

Research has shown a recent rise in the number of online searches from caregivers who are really struggling with the pressure of constant caring in difficult circumstances. Care expert Will Donnelly, who co-founded the care company Lottie, offer our readers this advice to voluntary carers:

·         Open up about how you are feeling to someone you trust

·         Share the workload if you can

·         Find support beyond the family

·         Ask your parent’s local authority about any help available

·         Tell your employer about your caregiving responsibilities

·         Practise stress management techniques

Research financial support

There is limited funding to support caregivers. It’s worth looking into the Carer’s Allowance, which offers £67.70 a week to those caring for someone at least 35 hours a week.

Of if you are attempting to work as well as care, flexible working is intended to offer flexible hours or an element of working from home.

Make time for yourself

It can be helpful to turn to stress-busting techniques and tools that only take a few minutes, but can have a positive effect. Suggestions include:

·         Deep breathing exercises

·         A quick self-massage

·         Five minutes of sunshine

·         Turning to an ongoing creative project

·         Trying out ‘guided imagery’