Caring for a loved one is a job that comes with it’s own set of rewards, as well as many challenges. Changes in the family dynamic, household disruption, financial pressure, along with the added workload can all wreak havoc on the emotional state of a caregiver, causing many to burnout.
Stress and burnout can impact your health, which affects your ability to provide appropriate care. Managing the stress levels in your life is just as important as managing your family member’s care. Follow these steps, issued by helpguide.org. to ensure you get the help you need.
Speak up. Don’t expect friends and family members to automatically know what you need or how you’re feeling. Be up front about what’s going on with you and the person in your care. If you have concerns or thoughts about how to improve the situation, express them—even if you’re unsure how they’ll be received. Dialogue is the key to success.
Spread the responsibility. Try to get as many family members involved as possible. Distance does not need to be a factor for assistance. You may also want to divide up caregiving tasks. One person can take care of medical responsibilities, another with finances and bills, and another with groceries and errands, for example.
Set up a regular check-in. Ask a family member, friend, or volunteer from your church or senior center to call you on a set basis (every day, weekly, or however often you think you need it). This person can help you spread status updates and coordinate with other family members.
Say “yes” when someone offers assistance. Don’t be shy about accepting help. Let them feel good about supporting you. Have a list ready of small tasks that others could easily take care of, such as picking up groceries or driving your loved one to an appointment.
Be willing to relinquish some control. Delegating is one thing. Trying to control every aspect of care is another. People will be less likely to help if you micromanage, give orders, or insist on doing things your way.
How do you alleviate some of the challenges you face as a caregiver?