I often hear individuals that are caregivers complain about how tired and overwhelmed they are. They never have time for themselves because they are busy taking care of a parent, spouse, child, sibling, or a friend. There is no one else to do it but me.
Then the bitterness begins to rise up because they have taken on too much. Sometimes it is by choice, obligation or guilt that they find themselves in this situation. The doctor’s appointments, the changing of diapers, administering of meds, baths, fixing meals, repeating yourself over and over, early signs of dementia, making arrangements for late bills, lack of understanding because the doctor isn’t talking in layman’s terms, and the list goes on.
They now feel socially deprived because they have no life. If I don’t do it, who will. I don’t have time to go to the doctor to get myself checked out because I don’t have support help me get a break. I work with a lot of people in the healthcare arena and they go from caring for the sick to going home and the saga continues. Burned out Barbara and Tempered Tony can’t seem to get help.
If we don’t find time to take care of ourselves then we will be looking for someone to take care of us.
My mother would always say, “I am the most important person to me and I love me some me. “ She wasn’t selfish, she was smart. I remember when my father became sick due to diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health challenges which led to both of his legs getting amputated. It came to a point when his organs begin to shut down and the doctors told us that his life was coming to an end. My mother was by his side faithfully every day. But one thing I remembered is when she came home, she would make herself some hot water, play the piano, and take a nice hot bath. This was her way of relaxing and getting reset for the next day of being at the hospital.
Even if it’s an hour, it is important to take care of yourself as the caregiver. If you are an offspring that sits on the sidelines and watches another sibling care for the parent and you don’t participate, then shame on you. There is a saying: If one mother can raise 10 children, then surely 10 children should be able to care for their mother.
Unfortunately this is not the case in many families so you see someone that is burned out, stressed out, overwhelmed. It’s time to step up and give relief. Preparing meals, running errands, shoveling snow, taking their kids to the library and helping them with the home work, or even come and sit with the person that is challenged to give the caregiver a break.
Trust me what goes around comes around and you will be blessed beyond belief.
Have you ever had to be the caregiver? What was your experience like?