Care-giving is hard, at least during some period of time when a person is providing this support.
I share this thought with you, as I learned of a very close girlfriend of mine recently having a nervous breakdown. I did not think they used that term any longer, for it’s not a formal diagnosis. She has been taking care of her husband who has Dementia, at home by herself for a long period of time. Essentially, her doctor was saying to her that she is not physically, mentally or emotionally able to handle the stress of this situation.
We, her family and friends, did not know how stressful it was becoming for her, for she always expressed “things are fine”. I am happy to say, now with this awareness, we supported her to help her husband be admitted to a facility where a treatment plan has been developed and we are helping her to obtain the resources she needs.
There are several lessons here:
1. Care-giving is most likely going to be stressful at times.
2. It does not help to shoulder the load and be overwhelmed.
3. It is not helpful to tell your support system that things are going well when they are not.
As you read this, if you are a caregiver, take inventory, do you have sufficient support for your correct care-giving role? Do you need to take better care of yourself and do you need help to do that? What areas of your life are you neglecting that is making you more stressed?
Now that you have an assessment of the gap in what you need and have, who can you reach out to help you with this? Is it family, friend and/or professionals? For professional help, check your health insurance, call 211 and call us if you need some support in the care-giving responsibilities.
After you have the current support you need, plan for the future. It decreases the stress to know what your next steps will be. What is the next resource you might need if more care-giving is required? Think of a variety of scenarios that could occur. What resources do you need for the different situations? Again, you don’t need to try to figure this out by yourself, reach out to others. And continue to develop support systems that will be there for you.
If you know someone that is a caregiver, share this blog with them, really check in with them to know how they are doing. Again, you are welcome to call us for additional resources to support them.
So please take good care of yourself and let us know how we can help,
Debbie Krider, Ed. D.
Chief Operating Officer
Granite State Independent Living (GSIL)