Are you at that point that giving care to an elderly parent is making you exhausted, resentful, stuck, angry and, also, guilty about feeling this way. Caregiver stress is real and normal. Building a system of services and support is important to give you time to step away and provide needed balance. Make use of helpful services; reach for the resources you need to make your job as a caregiver work.
Start the process by gathering help from several areas to create a wide support system. Creating this support system may mean involving family members (even the reluctant ones), researching public benefits (well worth the time it takes), contacting helpful organizations, paying for extra services to provide care or hiring a geriatric care manager to research and coordinate all of the above and more.
Perhaps it’s time to consider an Adult Day Program, which offers a chance to get out of the house for the elder and free time for the caregiver. These programs usually operate Monday through Friday during regular business hours and include social engagement, meals, help with toileting and activities. Some may offer transportation as well.
Hiring a companion or homemaker to help with meals, shopping and laundry, provide companionship and perhaps transportation can be the key to providing enough down time to regenerate and replenish the well.
To pull all the pieces together and even help plan for difficult family conversations, consider hiring a geriatric care manager. These professionals are usually social workers or nurses who will coordinate and oversee care including going to doctor’s visits depending on the level of service you decide you need.
Consider joining a support group to talk to people who are experiencing the same situation and learn how they are making the caregiving journey. Support groups offer a place to vent frustrations, gain an outside perspective and, of course, support. Don’t be shy about reaching for help for yourself; it is not a selfish endeavor. Caregiving is hard work and rewarding work. Adding help doesn’t automatically ensure that stressful situations will disappear but redistributing some of the weight can make your days easier and more enjoyable.