Part-time caregiving can actually be a full time job. There are houses to be cleaned, meals to be prepared, and doctor appoints to be kept. As you parents or loved ones get older, you may become involved in one or more of these everyday activities.
When you have an elderly parent or loved one, you feel the need to help them while many times putting your own feelings and priorities on the back burner. That being said, there is certainly nothing wrong in do that. Where the simple act of helping someone else leads to your life being put on hold is the basis of a problem.
So, who has the time? How do you fit it all in? You may have children or a family of your own and a career that you’ve worked years to establish yourself in. But as we age, so do the ones who have spent so many years of their lives caring for us. Now it’s time to give a little back, and at the same time, balance a busy family life and career.
So how can you do it without sacrificing your entire being? Well, it’s going to be difficult. Caring for someone you care so much about will inevitably lead to stress, resentment, and guilt as you put your life on hold for theirs.
First, we suggest you take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. What do you do best? Are you an organizer or planner? Maybe you should focus on planning doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, and medication organization and dispensing schedules. Are you a better homemaker and cook? Maybe planning the proper meals and keeping the laundry in check would be best for you.
Next, think about who you can lean on and really count on. Do you have siblings? They need to take the same personal inventory as you do to see where they can fit in. If you have a teenage son or nephew, give them garbage duty each week. You get the point. If you don’t delegate the work, you’ll end-up doing all of it, and that’s not healthy.
If your loved one requires 24-hour care, you’ll have no choice but to get that care at their home, or take them to a facility that can give them the care they need. If they don’t need this type of care, consider a medical alert monitoring system. These systems provide the peace of mind needed by both you and your loved one giving you both 24-hour care when you can’t be there.
Chances are, you’re the oldest sister or only daughter of your aging parents. That’s because statistically, you are the primary caregiver. It’s just something you take upon yourself to do. If you focus on your strengths and the strengths of others, this new and added “job” will feel much less like work and more of a natural extension of yourself. Don’t do it alone if you don’t have to.