If You’re Burnt Out – We’ve Got a Problem!
In many cases there is one family member who is the primary caregiver for their declining parent. If that is you and something happens to you then we’ve got a caregiver problem! Or to be more exact, you (caregiver), your family and your declining parent all have a problem.
In many situations, the only thing standing between your loved one and a nursing home is you. You may be the one either physically providing care or managing their care. If it were not for your efforts, your declining parent may have no assistance and may have no choice other than to go to an Assisted Living or Skilled Care Facility.
So if you are the primary caregiver, one problem you undoubtedly face is you are under a lot of stress. You’re dealing with your own family situation, your job and you are providing we’re managing the care of a declining parent. If your parent is steadily declining, this care may require a substantial amount of time. In fact it is not unusual for many caregivers to spend 40 plus hours per week at work plus 40 plus hours a week caring for declining parent. When you consider that there are only 128 hours in a week, that only leaves 48 hours to do basic things like sleep and spend some time with your immediate family. If you are in this situation, keep on reading. We’ve got a few tips below that may be of assistance to you.
Tips for the Stretched-Out Caregiver
Yes that is not a typo. If the above scenario describes you, you are stressed out to the max. However you are also stretched out. This is the number one caregiver problem. You have stretched your time between work, immediate family, and caring for your declining parent. You have spread yourself paper thin and now may be suffering healthcare or financial consequences of your extreme efforts. What do you do to regain control? Here are a few ideas:
Assessment of Mom
Do a family assessment of your declining parent. What is Mom struggling with now that she could do well six months ago? You may also want to suggest that she schedules an appointment with her primary care physician or geriatric physician for a medical assessment. The doctor might suggest medication changes or other lifestyle changes that will make a difference for her and you.
Assessment of YOU
Once again, no misprint here. Do a family assessment of you. Are you an ignorant victim of this caregiver problem? That is not meant to be an insult or to demean anyone. Oftentimes, we have taken so much on our shoulders that we don’t admit (or even realize) that we are struggling. Cindy had this caregiver problem, too. She did not realize how much pressure she had put on herself until someone took her aside and made her realize.
What things are you struggling with now that you could do well six months ago? You may now have health challenges, strained relationships at home, strained relations at work, strained finances, and other parts of your life that are just out of whack. What do you need to do to get things in order? Sit down with a journal, take some time to reflect and make a list. Then set some priorities and make a plan to get things back in balance.
Can any of your siblings or other family members provide assistance? Whether they live locally or remote, family members can provide a substantial amount of assistance if they are available and willing to do so. Even if they are very busy, and they can only contribute a few hours a week, they can help substantially. A few hours a week can do a lot to alleviate stress and solve this caregiver problem.
The local family members can pick up groceries for Mom, take her out to eat once a week, take her to church on Sunday, take her shopping or do any number of one-off tasks that would make a big difference. The remote family members can do accounting, scheduling and can serve as an interface between the family and service providers (to name a few).
In many situations the family will wait much too long before they bring in the assistance of outside non-medical caregivers. But bringing help in earlier can eliminate a lot that is caused when one family member attempts to do everything. By getting just a little help, you will be freed up to more clearly see care options that are available and may be more appropriate for your declining parent.
Some Community Resources such as senior centers, Meals on Wheels, senior transportation and even adult daycares may serve to provide some assistance and free up some of your time to work during the day without having to worry as much about your declining parent.
If you are the defining caregiver you can be stressed and stretched to the max. Hopefully by following some of these tips you can take a few action steps to relieve some of the stress in your life. We wish you the best as you work to serve the declining parent in your life.
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, considering we barely know each other. However, we fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver. Our own experiences have given us great wisdom and insight into many a caregiver problem!
In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community!
We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.
Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!