So you’re a caregiver now. This may be a role you never imagined yourself taking, or maybe you knew it would happen someday, but regardless, it’s not a role you are comfortable with, and that’s OK. Not everyone who ends up as a family caregiver was ready and willing to take the role.
If you are new to caregiving or consider yourself a “reluctant caregiver,” here are a few tips to help you get through your duties.
- Validate Your Feelings
If you feel like you are not prepared or inadequate for the job of caregiving, you’re probably giving yourself a hard time on a daily basis. You may be telling yourself to “suck it up” or that you should be doing better. Maybe you’ve had a couple of bad days, and you’ve told yourself that you shouldn’t be upset or crying because others have it harder than you.
Allow yourself to have whatever feelings you have about caregiving. Validate yourself and the situation you are in, whether you were ready for it or not. It’s OK to be where you are now and working on getting better each day. Don’t get too down on yourself, because that will only make you feel worse about an already stressful situation. If you need to cry, allow yourself to cry, and if you’re feeling happy one day, hold onto that feeling and allow yourself to be happy.
Don’t let your loved one’s health condition make you feel guilty about having positive feelings about good things in your own life. Caregivers can care and still maintain their own lives with good moments and bad. What you are feeling is normal. Remember that!
- Make Self-Care a Priority
At the beginning of your caregiving journey, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Before you find the right rhythm to your routine, you may feel like you’re spending all of your time on caregiving duties, which may include errands and doctor’s appointments with your loved one. It’s now time to give yourself permission to slow down and take time for yourself.
Remember that you will be a better caregiver if you feel rested and not stressed all the time. Even if this means taking a couple of hours a week to go to yoga or get your nails done, allow yourself to schedule “me time” without any guilt. This is a necessary and important part of being a family caregiver.
Your loved one deserves you at your best, and you deserve to be your best! Therefore, make self-care a priority in your life. Make sure that you are getting sleep and continuing to do the things you love to do. Don’t let your life disappear in front of you, and remember to enjoy the little moments with your loved one as well.
- Seek Help if You are a Reluctant Caregiver
Asking for help in your caregiving journey is absolutely OK. You can’t do everything on your own. No one expects you to, even your loved one. Not only should you be seeking help in the form of mental and emotional support through groups like our Elderly Parent Caregiver Support Group on Facebook and others that you can easily find online, but take time to seek professional help. Find a counselor who specializes in caregivers, and don’t be ashamed to share your feelings about the hardships and difficulties you are facing.
If you feel completely overwhelmed with your daily caregiving duties, consider in-home caregiving services. Contact us at 24/7 Nursing Care to learn about our options for in-home caregivers and nursing care. We offer part-time and full-time help whenever you need it. We look forward to supporting you!
Give us a call to schedule a free consultation: 855-Nurse44.
The Reluctant Caregiver. (2019, February 18). Retrieved from https://www.caregiverwarrior.com/the-reluctant-caregiver/