Perhaps when you first started looking after this family member in need, you thought it would be a short-term situation. It might have been your mother or father or maybe even your spouse. This individual may have been injured in an accident. It might have been a medical emergency like a heart attack that landed them in the hospital. Perhaps it was the result of major surgery that had been planned for months.
Whatever led to this situation, you are a family caregiver.
You might not think of yourself as such. Like so many other men and women across the country (an estimated 44 million people taking care of family members, according to Forbes), you saw this as your responsibility. Perhaps you wanted to be there for this person. It wasn’t going to be a big deal, or so you thought at first.
Then the stress started to infiltrate your life.
It was subtle at first. It was so slick that you never even paid attention or noticed it infiltrating various aspects of your life. But then, one night, you were having trouble falling asleep. Your mind kept racing. You kept thinking about things you might have forgotten, things that were overlooked, or other issues that could have caused serious problems for this person relying on you.
You didn’t get much sleep that night and the next day you were a bit run down, tired, and the frustration was getting to you more quickly. After a few days of this you started snapping at people who had done nothing wrong. You may have even reached the point where you were desperate to have a day off and not deal with any of these responsibilities.
You’ve been dealing with caregiver stress. It’s very real and it affects the vast majority of these caregivers all across the country.
Now it’s time for ‘first-aid.’
You need some time for yourself. This often sounds ridiculous to those who realize if they don’t help this other person, who will? That’s where home care support services comes into play. You don’t need to hire somebody for full-time, around-the-clock care. Through an agency, you can hire a caregiver for just a couple of hours at a time.
This could allow you to get back to the gym, to go out on a date, spend some time with your friends, or simply relax in the evening for a change at home.
If you don’t take these opportunities, the stress is only going to hit you harder and harder and that will make your life as a caregiver more complicated, difficult, and the quality of care you offer may not be what you intended.