If you are a caregiver for a loved one, then you are not alone. Many of us will be the caregiver for our aging parents, or loved ones that are ill. This is becoming very common as senior’s life spans are increased because of medical science.
According to Statistics Canada 28% of family members in BC are Caregivers. The majority of them are women between the ages of 45 and 65 and many are employed full time. Often they have children of their own and may even have grandchildren. They are known as the Sandwich Generation because they have so much responsibility.
The family caregiver is often a family member or close friend who supports a senior and is unpaid for this service. They may be supporting a senior in their home or in a facility who may have a chronic disease such as:
- Heart Disease
- Joint & Hip Issues
- Mental Conditions
The family caregiver often helps with errands such as groceries and personal appointments. Also, they are likely to be the advocate for their loved one with the medical professionals. They will pick up medications and schedule appointments. Many will help with medical treatments and personal hygiene. Caregivers may even be emotionally supporting their loved one as they decline in health.
We often believe that as we age our health will decline slowly and a fixed rate. However, this is not the case. Many seniors have sharp declines in health both physically and mentally which puts huge amounts of stress on themselves and the caregiver. These declines can lead to frustration, anxiety and even depression for both the person who is aging as well as their support person.
Many family caregivers are overwhelmed in their role and need support. However, as a society we don’t always communicate with our loved ones or even our friends to ask them for what we need. Communication is key to being properly supported in your role.
So how can you communicate your needs in a healthy way so that you are heard and will receive the support you need.
1. Talk to your family members and friends calmly. If you are upset you will let all your emotions pour out and may even accuse the other person of being unsupportive.
2. Share how you are feeling. If you are angry, overwhelmed, or anxious about a situation be honest and tell them.
3. A good phrase may be “I feel that I am doing all the care-giving with _____ and I’m overwhelmed. I need more support.”
4. Ask your family member to brainstorm solutions with you. This gets them involved in a positive way and you will probably come up with some good solutions.
5. Share responsibilities.
6. Hire a professional caregiver 1 or 2 mornings a week.
7. Hire a professional caregiver to drive your loved one to their appointments.
8. Organize a cleaning service to clean their home.
9. Organize a gardening service to keep their yard maintained.
10. Use a grocery service.
11. Be honest with your parent/loved one and let them know that you are doing the best that you can.
12. Try not to get frustrated with your parent/loved one as they are doing the best they can.
13. Take breaks.
15. Remember to laugh because if you don’t this will get very heavy and you may get resentful.
It’s important to remember that you are doing the best that you can and find peace with that. Let go of all the perfectionism and remember that you also have your own life. Nurture yourself as you would your parent/loved one and stay open in your heart.
I know that caring for your parent/loved one can be scary. Believe me, I’ve been there and I get it. Through my own personal journey and helping countless other people, I have developed my signature Platform for Well-Being System that is a proven holistic path for moving through this challenging time with ease and reaching a balanced and happy life gracefully. If you need support during this process from someone who’s been there and come out the other side, I invite you to attend my talk for caregivers “Burnout To Balance” on May 26th. Click Here for more details.