Can You Take Care of an Aged Loved One?

Are you prepared to take on the responsibility of caring for a family member? Can you handle the commitment that comes with the role? Have you considered moving your loved ones in with you? How will you recognize when caregiving becomes too overwhelming? Will caregiving impact your relationships with others? What elder care arrangements have you considered? Decisions…Decisions!

When aging parents or loved ones need help, many dive into caregiving with little forethought. Circumstances and events later, we realize that we’ve been in this role for some time and that it has transformed us. As a family caregiver, you must have a truthful talk with yourself. Doing some sincere soul-searching can help you uncover established boundaries and set goals and priorities, all designed to protect your physical and mental health. Know that needs and desires have their place in the care of others.

Finding common ground will not always be as simple as one decision. Putting others first does not always come easy, and being in the know of this fact will offer you much grace as a caregiver. Know that the sooner you have this conversation with yourself, the better prepared you will be to care for a loved one. Many will come with high demands, frustrations, anger, their inability to care for themselves, and needing help from others.

What Are Some Thoughts To Ponder?

Are you a part of the sandwich generation? The sandwich generation is a group of middle-aged adults caring for their aging parents and their children. What are their needs, and how does caregiving impact your ability to meet them?

* Do you have a supportive partner(s)? How will caregiving affect your bond?

* How will you make time for yourself while caregiving? What will be your “recharge” event?

* Are you prepared to say “NO” and not feel bad about your decision? You do know that “NO” is a complete sentence?

* How will you know when to seek assistance?

* How will you maintain your physical and mental health? Remember, self-care is not selfish!

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, we know that caregiver burnout is real. Once it happens, you and your loved one could be in danger, both physically and emotionally. Care becomes more difficult. Acknowledging that you need help is a safety step. The reality is that many caregivers are the only care providers. The truth is, no one can do it all, so remember to examine yourself and simply find the truth and go from there. I offer consultations. Visit my website to set up an appointment. I am here to help.

Be safe! Be well!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.

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