You probably didn’t expect to be a family caregiver. Most people don’t. Out of the estimated 44 million people taking care of an aging or disabled adult loved one (Forbes), the vast majority of them didn’t have plans to be doing this in life. It’s important to understand how this affects your life.
You may not have thought about it at first, but it can have a significant impact.
A lot of these family caregivers assume this is going to be a relatively easy job. All you have to do is stop by every once in a while, provide some basic support, call and check in occassionally, and so on. Yet, as the days turn into weeks and have suddenly plowed their way into months, you feel overwhelmed.
There are things in your life that likely changed as a result.
What is it? Has it been time with your spouse, closest friends, or even work? Have you given up time at the gym? Are you eating poorly as a result of never seeming to have time to prepare a healthy meal at home?
These are just a few questions that are important to ask for any family caregiver. When you begin changing your life, changing the things you do, all to accommodate somebody else who needs assistance, whether that is expected to go on for a few weeks or even months, it can have a dramatic impact on many other aspects of your personal life.
Be honest about the situation.
It’s not going to help if you can’t be honest with yourself about this particular situation. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you will likely be experiencing even more stress as a result of your work as a caregiver.
Remember, this is a job.
It may not feel like it, but it is. This job is incredibly important. If you don’t offer consistent hours, get burned out with too much stress and anxiety, and don’t pay enough attention to the details that make all the difference in the world, it can affect you even more significantly and may even be a detriment to the person who is relying on you in the first place.
If life as a family caregiver has changed so much that you feel like it has slipped out of your hands, it’s time to sit down and figure out an alternative solution. Relying on home care support is one of the best options to consider and it can alleviate a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety from your life and that of the senior.