By the very nature of the title, it is obvious that being the Lone Family Caregiver is a lonely job. It is even more lonely this time of year. The holidays, (Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and some others I probably have missed) are supposed to be joyful times with lots of fun, food, joyful family gatherings and cheer.
Holidays Only Amplify the Emotions
Instead, the Lone Family Caregiver seems to feel just the opposite – in spades! It seems that the holidays only serve to amplify the feelings of loneliness, frustration, overwhelm and helplessness. Which relates with your “job” of being the sole Caregiver of a declining senior that you love.
We recently asked in our Help Me Help Momma Facebook group the following: “What is the one specific caregiver task that is hardest for you to do alone”. We received TONS of replies ranging from changing diapers to changing the bed with a Loved One in it.
However, the most gut wrenching replies had nothing to do with the specific tasks. But had to do with the emotions of being the Lone Family Caregiver. It’s as if these Caregivers had the weight of the world on their shoulders. With no one to help. More than one Caregiver mentioned that it was much easier to get strangers to help than family!
Struggling with Balance
Some Family Caregivers mentioned that they struggled with balance. They were attempting to juggle their job responsibilities, their relationship with their spouse and kids (and everything their kids or grand kids are involved in) AND be a full or part time Caregiver for a declining parent. This is not an easy juggling act!
A few mentioned dealing with feelings of guilt. Most of these feelings revolved around the impossible dilemma of not being able to be in two places at once. If they were at work, they were worrying about their declining parent at home. If they were with their parent, they worried and felt guilty about not being with their immediate family (or vice versa). Again, it is impossible to be in two places at once, but the guilt remains.
Some Caregivers were glad to be providing care for a declining parent. But, they get upset because though their siblings can help, they just don’t do want to. Other Family Caregivers on our Facebook page wisely responded that you obviously can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. Others mentioned that the one providing the care would have the great private memories to carry with them for the remainder of their lives.
A few Caregivers told stories of about the physical and emotional toll of caregiving. Sometimes this can be compounded and can be worse over time. On the physical side, Caregivers tend to not get the care they need. Choosing to focus instead on the care of their Loved One. On the emotional side, they just “suck it up”, push back their own feeling and always try to maintain a happy and positive attitude for their Loved One. Obviously, neglecting your own health in not an optimal response. If you (the Family Caregiver) are sidelined because your postponed health issues catch up with you, the one you are caring for also suffers.
If you are laboring as a Lone Family Caregiver this time of year and are feeling the pain, click above to get your Free Tip Sheet, “7 Tips for the Lone Caregiver to Get Through the Holidays Happy and Healthy”. It’s our Christmas present to you. We hope it helps!
Just know that you don’t have to be the Lone Caregiver this holiday season. Go to our Help Me Help Momma Facebook page to see daily updates and read the comments and questions of hundreds of Family Caregivers just like you. Then join the conversation. I have read countless conversations, tips and words of encouragement between caregivers on this Facebook site. I hope you will join us.
Hopefully these brief words and the Free Tip Sheet will in some small way help you this holiday season. Please stay plugged in. We hope to talk to you soon on our blog at www.helpmehelpmomma.com or on our Facebook page. Happy Holidays!