As our parents get older it’s pretty typical of them to slow down a bit. They may have some mobility problems or develop a chronic illness. Maybe they forget something now and then. Slowly, almost unknowingly, you start to pick up the slack. Maybe the night before garbage day you give them a reminder call. When you stop by, you bring in the mail or drop off some dinner leftovers that you know they enjoy. After all, it’s no big deal. Slowly, what you do involves more and more of your time. You take them to their doctor appointments so you can hear first hand what the doctor has to say and help them keep their medications straight. You start doing the yard work or making sure the snow gets shoveled. In time, you become responsible for more aspects of their lives: the finances, household chores and medical management. To you, this is a labor of love. You’re grateful for all they’ve done to raise you and you’re “just doing the right thing”. You are needed.
As time goes by, you have less and less time for your own life, your family, and your job. You may feel resentful and then feel guilty because you are resentful. You may feel helpless and fearful—after all, how long can you keep this up? It’s time to recognize that you’re not just “giving back” to someone you care about.
YOU ARE A CAREGIVER! You have joined the ranks of the 21% of adults in the United States who provide unpaid care to an adult needing physical, financial, or emotional support. Sixty to seventy percent of these caregivers are women and thirteen percent of these caregivers are over the age of 65.
It’s important to recognize your role and to realize that you are not alone. Acknowledge your feelings and talk about them. Try to enlist help from family and friends. Joining a caregiver support group online, at your local senior center or hospital can be very helpful. Enlist the services of a homecare agency to help you with your labors or to provide some respite for you. Know that what you do is important and a work in progress. How did your role as a caregiver develop? Share below and visit us as http://www.trilliumhomecare.com