Doing Too Much? What Can You Do About It?
Caregiver stress can creep up on you as you gradually do more and more things to help your family member. It’s easy to justify adding just one more thing to your groaning to- do list when it’s to help your loved one.
When you are doing too much, you will get signals from your body and your mind:
You may get feedback from family and friends who have noticed how you are changing and express concern. You may receive complaints from family or friends who feel neglected.
- Loss of appetite
- Overeating, binging on comfort foods
- Trouble concentrating
- Snapping at people
- Being emotionally volatile, happy or ok one minute, angry or crying the next minute
Now what? You’ve thought things through and realized that maybe you do have caregiver stress. Looking at your situation may leave you feeling a bit hopeless. You can see clearly that your family member needs help, how can you possibly do less?
In order to honor your commitment to help your family member, you have to seek the right mix of helping, taking care of yourself and using other resources. Staying on your current path, will only lead to a breakdown, where you get sick or become emotionally unable to continue caregiving. Then you will break your promise to your family member.
The key is negotiating a change in the caregiving status quo. Before talking about how exactly you might do this. There are a couple of things you need to know.
1. Accept that on an emotional level you may never feel that you are doing enough to help your family member. Guilty feelings are part and parcel of the caregiving experience. Learning to cope with guilty feelings is critical.
2. Your family member may not like the new you who is going to be less self sacrificing. Most of us love the status quo. We don’t like things to change. The family member you are caring for and other family members who need to step up to the plate and offer more care, will likely not like your plan to change.
Begin by changing your caregiving situation slowly. Commit to changing one thing about your caregiving routine as a starting point.
You will need to make a plan. How will the care that you have been providing in this one way be replaced?
Discuss the change with your family and ask them to try the new way for two weeks, one month or whatever time seems appropriate. Just be careful about setting the time too short, everyone needs time to adjust to the “new” way.
Ala Dr. Phil, here is a script you can use to discuss this issue with your family.
“If I keep caring for you at the same pace and level that I am right now, I will break down.”
“If I break down it will be bad for me, my family and most importantly you because everything I am doing now will stop.”
“I’ve decided to stop doing (insert your activity) on (date). I’ve found (the resource) to help you.”
“I’ll be keeping track to make sure that this works the way we need it to. I know that this change may take some adjusting too so I’m asking you to try it for xx weeks.”
Keep repeating the essence of this script until your family gets that you are not backing down.
Have you successfully scaled back some of your caregiving activities? How did you do it? Please share with us what you did.
Is it Time to Discuss Your Eldercare Challenges with an Expert?
Have your caregiving responsibilities left you stressed, angry or feeling guilty?
Do you suspect that your family member needs help and don't know where to start?
Whether you are an experienced caregiver verging on burnout or a new caregiver who is not sure how to help a family member, you can benefit from Eldercare Coaching.
To experience what's it's like to have an expert in your corner providing advice and resources
tailored to your unique situation,
click here to schedule a no cost 30 minute consultation.
Won't You Join Us At Our October Events
Wednesday, October 14, 7pm PST
Janice is hosting the "It Takes a Village to Care for Aging Parents" Telephone Support Group
Call in number: (616) 347-8400
Pin number: 196932#
To register for this event, please reply to this email.
Wednesday October 28 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Free Eldercare Presentation at Bella Luce
Skin Care & Healing Arts in Pacifica, CA
Caring for an aging relative can be isolating and exhausting. Build a care team to help you prevent burnout and your relative receive better care.
Learn three strategies for building a successful care team
* Communicating for success
* Coping with reluctant team members
* Working with medical & eldercare professionals
Bring your eldercare questions and concerns, we will have plenty of time for answers.
RSVP to Antoinette to save a seat!
email or Call 650-238-4901
Bella Luce Skin Care and Healing Arts
2014 Palmetto Ave., Suite A
Pacifica, CA 94044