Many of us slowly work our way into being a caregiver for an aging parent or loved one. We don’t realize it’s even happening. We start out doing a few helpful things like cooking an extra meal or helping with the shopping. Maybe we come by and cut the grass or offer to do some of the heavy housework. In time, the list of chores grows…we drive them to appointments, balance their check book and handle some of the financial responsibilities. Caregiving always gets more complicated and time consuming. The amount of time it takes up and its effect on one’s personal life and work life increases the longer it lasts.
And then one day you wake up and find you’re feeling resentful. There may be a lot of reasons to feel this way. Maybe you’re the only one taking care of your loved one because there’s no one else or maybe there are other siblings and relatives who choose to not help. Maybe you’ve had to put plans for your life on hold and you resent having to set your goals aside. You worry how you’re going to handle the ever increasing list of duties and fear for the future of your loved one. You hope nothing ever happens to you for your loved one’s sake. And in the deep recesses of your heart, you may even resent the one you care for. Although you feel trapped, you’re ashamed to say so — you’ll just look heartless and petty. Nonetheless, your life is no longer your own.
All these feelings are normal, especially in caregivers who are handling this responsibility for any length of time. They’re actually a manifestation of the fear and stress you deal with on a regular basis in addition to handling all the “regular” complications of your own life. If you’ve reached this point, you definitely need some relief. Make some arrangements for respite: ask family and friends to give you a needed break, check out local community resources such as senior day care centers and meals on wheels. Look into getting some home care services even if for a few hours a couple times a week. You need to lighten your load. Writing in a journal will give you a place to vent your feelings and joining a caregiving support group will connect you with others who are also dealing with similar problems and feelings. Remember, you are not alone. Visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com