In caregiving it helps to know you’re not alone. It helps to know there are others who have faced the problems and come up with workable solutions.
Karin: the gradual caregiver
Some people find themselves in the adult caregiver role without being able to identify a specific day they started. Take Karin for example. Her mother lived only a few blocks away, so Karin would find herself walking over a few times a week to help her mom cook and clean and do a few things around the yard and house. This went on for a few years. But suddenly one day Karin realized that most of her time was spent at her mom’s and she no longer had any time for herself. What had happened? Her mom had slowly grown to depend on her more and more.
Gerald: the sudden caregiver
It was almost the opposite with Gerald. He had a full-time job and kept busy with it during the week; his teenage children came to visit on the weekends. When his mom passed away he suddenly realized his dad couldn’t live on his own at all – his mom had been taking care of him for years. Now Gerald was faced with having to make caregiving decisions quite suddenly.
Solutions for Karin and Gerald
Karin and Gerald really aren’t too different from each other. Whether gradually or all of a sudden, they are both fully immersed in the caregiver role and looking for someone to throw them a lifeline. It doesn’t take long before you realize you need help and support as a caregiver. If you have family and friends who can pitch in and help out in the caregiver role, tell them yes and find what they can do best to help out.
Search your community resources to see what is available to you. Contact elder care services and look into hiring an elderly care provider to help with the everyday tasks of caregiving. In these two cases, Karin and Gerald didn’t have any other family close enough to help. Gerald got some help from a local Alzheimer’s society for his father and joined a support group for himself. He hired elder care providers to cover the hours during the day while he was at work.
Karin wanted to stay on as a family caregiver for her mom but needed time for herself as well. She hired a caregiver for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each week so she could come and go as she pleased without worrying whether her mom needed help or not. Karin was able to go out with friends again like she used to and enjoy her crafts and hobbies again. The weekend off gave her that refresher she so desperately needed.
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