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Valued Contributor
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎07-12-2011

Caregiver Needs Suggestions

Hello All,

 

I have been in a caregiver role for some time now but due to health problems becoming more complex things feel more challenging now.  For those out there who have been in this boat, please provide me with some suggestions on how you maintained life balance etc.  Any suggestion big or small would be welcome..

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,023
Registered: ‎08-25-2010

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions

It would help to know what kind of care you’ve been providing to the person. Are you helping a mostly healthy older person with grocery shopping, getting them to appointments, etc? Or are you helping to care for someone who’s ill? Are there other family members or friends who can help you?

 

We just hired a company to provide Companion care for my elderly aunt 3 days a week when we realized we were spending so much time taking her to appointments that we were putting off our own medical appointments. The type and level of care required determines what type of person is selected and the cost for that person. Generally, home health care providers are covered by health insurance, whereas companion care isn’t(though it maybe covered by a long term care policy). As the Baby Boomers age, more options for caring for them are cropping up. If the town where you live has a council on the aging, they may be able to provide you with some ideas. Good luck!

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,410
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions

@Gayle2  - For  5 1/2 years, I was the sole caregiver for my aunt who had dementia.  She passed last June at the age of 96.  I can definitely relate to what you are going through.  The most important thing I can say to you is take care of yourself and make time to do things for yourself. Have lunch with friends, go shopping, get a manicure, etc.  I wish I had done more of that., but it is very easy to get caught up in putting the other person's needs first.  You need to step away from your daily responsibilites, even if it is for a short time, to have some sort of balance.   I was caregiver by choice and I could have had outside help, but I resisted until the last two months of my aunt's life.  Please don't let it get to the point where you are physically and emotionally burnt out.  Is there someone who could give you a break or is outside help available?  If so, take advantage of it.  Also I hate to say this, but when the person you are caring for is gone, it will be a big adjustment (at least it was for me) for you.  If you have more balance in your life now,  it will help you get back to a new normal where your needs come first.   I hope my suggestions help you.  Good luck.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,953
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions

[ Edited ]

Absolutely no two ways about it - to be a good caregiver you have to take breaks and do so often.  I was caregiver for my mother and father.  I had 3 siblings and dad more or less pulled the fam together and all 4 kids were involved in her care bc he had to work for a living AND he took her to all her appts during treatment - she died in 1976 when we were in our teens.

 

Years later when we were in our 50s my father needed a caregiver and, bc my father taught us the importance of being there for family we all took turns in his care.  He lived with me for 8 of the last 10 years of his life and I told my siblings I did not mind taking the majority of the caregiving but dad had 4 kids, not one so I'd need breaks often.  I would put out an email when I wanted to go on road trips or cruises and tell them - don't care who does what, they had to work it out and I never wanted to hear excuses about why they couldn't.  Never did they let me down - bc all it took was seeing how difficult it was, and if I couldn't get help, more responsibilty would fall on them.  I was lucky bc I had help and after having dad for 8 years, I was dx with an aggressive cancer and the other 3 sibs cared for him.  I chose an oncologist 180 miles round trip from my home and BF was my caregiver bc he lived much closer to those docs.  He cared for me for 14 months and during that time friends nearby drove me to all my appointments and BF offered a caring loving environment - he pushed me when I wanted to give up and helped in lots of other ways.  

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎07-12-2011

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions

Thanks for your comments, it was what I needed to hear..  The one thing that has worked is that I get up earlier in the day just to have "me, quiet time".  This has really centered my day.  I do work in exercise and make time for fun things and "know" I need to keep things scheduled.  I think I am just trying to not giving in to periodically feeling overwhelmed.  

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,953
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions


@Gayle2 wrote:

Thanks for your comments, it was what I needed to hear..  The one thing that has worked is that I get up earlier in the day just to have "me, quiet time".  This has really centered my day.  I do work in exercise and make time for fun things and "know" I need to keep things scheduled.  I think I am just trying to not giving in to periodically feeling overwhelmed.  


@Gayle2  As I said above I had a lot of help with caregiving duties and still felt overwhelmed many times.  I think it's the nature of the job but I pray you continue to find the balance needed to help.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,410
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions


@Gayle2 wrote:

Thanks for your comments, it was what I needed to hear..  The one thing that has worked is that I get up earlier in the day just to have "me, quiet time".  This has really centered my day.  I do work in exercise and make time for fun things and "know" I need to keep things scheduled.  I think I am just trying to not giving in to periodically feeling overwhelmed.  


@Gayle2  I also would get up early to have my "me time" and have breakfast and catch up on the news.   It is normal to feel overwhelmed, we are only human.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,015
Registered: ‎07-03-2013

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions

I concur with what's been said.  Don't lose you along the way and It's okay to seek help.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,968
Registered: ‎02-02-2015

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions

Feeling overwhelmed is very normal and probably something we can't prevent.  Getting out of the house seems like a good idea, even if it's just a walk.  Listening to calming music, taking a chunk of time without interruptions to watch tv or whatever, just a period of time where you can be undisturbed.  Respite care is a possibility too.  Make sure you get out of the house a bit.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,927
Registered: ‎09-01-2010

Re: Caregiver Needs Suggestions

I am in this same boat right now, and feel the challenges almost to the point of saying I’m overwhelmed.   

 

My adult life has always been focused on “not sweating the small stuff”, and I continue to ground myself that way.  #1 focus is my husband and his needs; everything else gets done by priority, and I do not let unimportant thoughts linger in my head.    

 

An absolute must for me is to grab quiet moments for myself whenever I can, and make the most of that downtime.   

 

My very best wishes to you @Gayle2 !