I used to go to yoga five times a week. Now my mom pleads with me to stay home. She doesn’t want to be alone and she worries about me when I’m gone. I know she can manage just fine for a couple of hours. How can I make time for me and my own health when her demands are so great?
To run the marathon, you need to take care of yourself. Your commitment to yoga is a great way to do so! Most agree that yoga will keep your body strong and flexible while it helps you be calmer and more patient around your mom. I definitely encourage you to stick to your practice.
Sharing your enthusiasm for yoga with your mom might help her worry less. See if any senior centers in your area offer chair yoga, and invite her to come along for a session or two. Trying a few safe movements might help her see why you value your classes. If she likes it, make it a regular date!
When it’s time for your own class, keep it simple. Don’t give a lot of information about your exit. You’re an adult; you don’t need to explain your every move. Say, “I’ve got to run out for a bit—I’ll see you at 6,” and leave. Making a quick exit gets you out before your mom can build her argument against your going.
It’s true that some people with dementia really shadow their loved ones and don’t want them to leave. If this is your mom, it may be time to get your mother into a day program, or hire a caregiver so your mom can socialize while you get a break. Either way, please don’t feel guilty. To take care of your mom, you need to take care of yourself.
When you’re running through your yoga “sun salutations,” know that you’re doing the very best you can for your mom AND yourself. Enjoy!
Learn more about the dementia care services available from Home Instead.