Last week, my phone was ringing off its hook with family caregivers. Their caregiving needs all varied. One caregiver was calling for a parent who couldn’t recall the specialist’s name from their last appointment. There was a key follow up needed pertaining to a continued driver’s license. Another family member called who was thrown into a caregiver role almost overnight. To add another level of complexity: they were caring for an ex-spouse and there was no one else to step in. Another family called as they were having to care for two parents with very different needs in addition to being met with resistance. The house needs downsizing and be on the market as they get ready to commit to more supportive housing and care.
Yet, none of them spoke about their own needs as a caregiver. It wasn’t until I asked them what they needed did they recognize feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed, or unsure what the next steps were. Many felt resilient and felt they did have support. Most said they could use more support and more time for themselves, but felt it ended up being less of a priority.
Many caregivers understand the importance of caring for themselves and, yet, in another breath, say things like, “I feel overwhelmed,” “I’m stressed out,” “I’m too busy to eat, let alone find time to stay healthy,” and “There are so many things to do, how do I make time for myself?”
The first step is simply checking in with yourself. Take your Caregiving Temperature. Click here to start. It takes 5 minutes.
Want to read more?
Check out our blog, Beware Caregiver Burnout. You’ll definitely want to read this, especially if you scored less than 5 on the caregiver check in above.
Our self-compassion blog helps caregivers punch those self-judgement and self-criticism statements we tell ourselves right in the nose!
If you are a family caregiver and feel you could benefit from talking to professional about your situation, reach out to us. We can help you care for someone without losing yourself in the process.
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– Mike G., Nanaimo, BC
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