As a family caregiver, you can’t lose sight of your own need to socialize, spend time with your children, friends, significant other, etc. You need to make sure that the care you offer is balanced and gives you time off to do the things you want or need to do.
It often seems easier to say you need a break than it is to actually get that break. How do you communicate your needs as a family caregiver?
Hold Regular Family Meetings
Start by having regular family meetings. Every month or two, get together for a meal and talk about what care your parents need. If the tasks they need help with are increasing, it’s taking you more time. You’ll need help to ensure everything gets done.
You need to make sure everyone knows how time is spent each week. As the demand for care increases, you may need extra hands helping out. A family meeting is the best time to discuss these changes.
Be Honest With Yourself and Others
You may feel obligated to provide all of the care your mom and dad need but is that realistic? If you’re working a full-time job, have children at home, and also have a house of your own, you’re going to find it hard to manage everything.
If it’s too much, you need to be honest with yourself. You need to be honest with others. You can and should ask for help when it’s needed. Speak up. If you need to start by talking to a sibling you know would be on your side, take that step first and approach the others together.
It may take careful scheduling to ensure you, your siblings, and professional caregivers are covering each day your parents need help. It can be done, however, and should be done sooner rather than later. People may become too comfortable allowing you to do everything while they go on with their lives.
Don’t Push Yourself to Do It All
Family caregivers should not lose track of their personal needs. If they do, caregiver burnout is possible. At that point, the stress can lead to mental and physical health issues. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, they need to look into respite care services.
Respite care benefits families by having caregivers available to step in and help provide the necessary care services when needed. Call a home care agency to discuss rates and services caregivers provide.