Problems You May Face as a Family Caregiver
If you are a family caregiver or are working with a professional caregiver to care for your loved one, you will inevitably encounter some challenges. Today, we will talk about what challenges you might run into and how you can better respond to them. A prepared caregiver is an effective caregiver.
Some potential challenges can include:
- Anxiety/Depression: Caregiving is difficult work. If you are caring for a parent or a close relative, it can be devastating to see your loved one go through so much. Additionally, the demands of caregiving are pretty high. Your sleep may be affected, which can lead to mental health decline. Lastly, caregiving can be expensive, creating stress about your own personal finances. It is important, therefore, if you are feeling depressed or anxious, to talk to a counselor about how you can help yourself. Some ways to help keep your mental health in check is to get at least seven hours of sleep at night, ideally eight hours, and to exercise a few times out of the week.
- Balancing too much: Many times, caregivers are adult children who have a career, children, and a spouse to care for. When their parent or close relative needs a caregiver, many adult children step up to the plate, taking on this intense load of responsibilities. As a result, “caregiver burnout” is common, which usually means caregivers become fatigued and unable to carry their responsibilities anymore. One way to respond to this is to schedule personal time, pursue hobbies, meditate, and relax. Focusing on yourself is not selfish but necessary. When you take care of yourself, it will be easier to care for others.
- Loneliness: Because caregivers have so many responsibilities, they may tend to isolate themselves and reduce or completely forget about socializing with friends and other family members. It is very important to socialize and to communicate with others, as it can help relieve stress and provide a supportive network to rely on.
- Guilt: Caregiving will put you through complex and difficult emotions. One of those is guilt. You may feel guilty for wanting some more free time. You may feel angry toward your loved one because of the demands that their condition is putting on you. These are completely normal emotions to experience. Do not beat yourself up about them. Instead, accept that you will feel this way sometimes. Remind yourself to cut yourself some slack because you are doing a fantastic job. As suggested above, set aside some time for yourself. Whether that means for exercise, meditation, or socializing with friends. Self-care is a literal life saver!
- Problems with Family: Many times, having a family with an illness can cause a rupture in familial relationships. You may find yourself arguing with family members on how to best address the problems at hand. Some family members may not want to get involved, leaving you alone to grapple with some of the toughest decisions you’ll ever have to make. This is a particularly difficult situation. Sometimes, you will not be able to convince other family members to jump on board. Sometimes, you may be able to get through. Communicating your thoughts and feelings can be especially important here. Try organizing a family meeting, getting as many family members together so you can all brainstorm together on how to delegate tasks and responsibilities. It’s worth a try.
If you have any more questions, please call ElderCare at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!