Caregiving is something that affects spouses, parents, friends, and so many more. Perhaps you expected to provide care for your spouse, or you knew that you would need to provide care to a child, but caring for a parent can be an unexpected role for many adult children. Caregiving needs may also arise when you are in the middle of career advancement, sending children off to college, or planning for retirement. Regardless of when you realize that your parents may need more help, it is important to know how to avoid regrets or surprises when it comes to being a caregiver.
What is a Caregiver
If you are helping with small tasks like grocery shopping, trips to the pharmacy, or ensuring that someone stops by mom’s house to check on her… then you are a caregiver. You may not think of yourself as one, but technically, you are. The sooner you recognize your role in your parent’s care, the sooner you can have a discussion with them about future needs that may arise. The discussion doesn’t have to start out as complicated or heavy, especially since your parents may feel as if they can manage their own health for many years to come.
The other issue we have is parents trying to shelter their children from knowing how much help they actually need. So, having a conversation with your parents when it is just a trip to the pharmacy once a month, helps avoid uncomfortable situations later down the road. Ask them what their plans are for the future and how you fit into that picture.
Problems that May Arise
Caregiver burnout is common regardless of who you may be providing care for, but when it comes to providing care for your parents, there is a whole other set of circumstances that can lead to isolation and loneliness. If you are providing care for your parents and your peers are not, then you may find yourself feeling isolated and without guidance. Not having friends going through the same types of experiences is tough. You need a support system when it comes to providing care to your parents, and individuals you can reach out to who have guidance and knowledge they can share with you.
If you discover that you are caring for your parents, and your friends aren’t in that category yet, try to find a support group that you can lean on for help.
Focusing on a career, or even your family may be difficult and hard to balance. If you are working, then finding the time you need to take off of work for appointments, let alone care for yourself, can be a whole new thing to deal with. Don’t forget to speak to your HR department about what is going on in your life so that they can provide resources that may help.
How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout When Caring For a Parent
There is a whole extra layer of emotion when you are providing care for your parent. Caregivers in this situation may find themselves more stressed and more easily burned out than others. It is important that even as a family caregiver, you prioritize your own needs first. In order to do this, you may start out small at first, for example, instead of picking things up at the store for your parents on the way home, you may choose to have their groceries delivered to them. Instead of a trip over the weekend to mow the yard, hire someone to maintain the lawn and just come over to visit. If you can make more trips to mom and dad’s house about visiting and less about a task, then it is easier to help with small things while you are there. When you find that you are spending more time providing care than you have to give, consider hiring respite care workers or in-home caregivers to help share the load.
If you need a break or are interested in resources to help you find social communities to participate in, then we can help you here at Homewatch CareGivers of Annapolis! We’re always here to support you and your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.