Ever feel like your life revolves around caring for other people? Do you ever get a moment to do even something small for yourself, like sit down at your favorite café for a cup of coffee or chat on the phone with a friend? Family caregivers often feel like the gravitational center of their family’s universe, caring for the needs of elderly parents, teenagers, a spouse, a career, pets, a home, etc. It’s exhausting just thinking about your to-do list, let alone tackling it every day. If you’re a family caregiver who’s got more than a few plates spinning, we’re about to tell you something very important: You MUST ask for help!
Being a caregiver is stressful, and if you don’t take time to also care for yourself, it can lead to health problems. If you find yourself experiencing the following symptoms of emotional overload, it may be time to accept some much-needed respite care, rather than continuing to shoulder the burden alone:
- Anxiety: Feelings of concern or worry are common when providing care for an aging parent, particularly when faced with the unknown and situations that are out of our control.
- Guilt: “Am I doing enough? Is there more I should be doing? How can I think of myself when Mom and the kids need me?”
- Anger: Anger can quickly manifest from fear and anxiety, and can sometimes be misdirected onto a loved one – resulting in more feelings of guilt and anxiety…a vicious circle.
- Grief: As a loved one ages, a sense of loss for the person who once was can be powerful. And watching a loved one continue to decline only exacerbates the feelings.
We are naturally inclined to think that we can do it all, but it’s important to realize that it’s not just OK to ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed; it’s essential! It’s also important for family caregivers to know that this stage of life as a “sandwich generation” caregiver does not have to be – nor, should it be – a solo journey. Accepting help does not mean failure or ineptitude. Partnering with a trusted senior home care agency like Home Matters is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy life balance.