Being a family caregiver isn’t easy. Whether you have been a caregiver for years or just become a caregiver overnight, everyone gets frustrated sometimes and runs into challenges that may seem impossible. On a bad day, when I feel tired or things aren’t going how I wanted, I remind myself why I love caring for my aging parents and what I love about caregiving.
Here are some of the things that I remind myself:
1️. I am grateful that I am able to give back to my parents who have done so much for me.
The relationship between me and my parents have come full circle: they cared for me and now I care for them.
2. Caregiving has changed how I live my life.
Not in a bad way but good! I re-prioritized things in my life that were important to me and learned the value of spending quality time and being in the moment.
3. I have learned so much and gained valuable life skills.
Now I know how to talk to medical professionals and how to communicate my parents’ needs clearly. I used my creativity to overcome problems and make my life easier. Finding a new life hack is so satisfying!
4. At that moment, I am the only person in the world who knows how to best take care of my parents.
I know their medical needs, their day-to-day care routine, their little habits, and what they like and don’t like. I am qualified to be their caregiver and I am giving them the best care and attention they deserve.
I hope that what I tell myself is something that you tell yourself also. I didn’t feel prepared when I first became a caregiver, but with the support of my family, doctors, and social workers I made it through. Being a caregiver to my parents as they age has been so rewarding and I am proud of my role.
If you feel stuck and burnt out, you may want to take a step back and re-evaluate your current care plan. Remember that there are people to help support you. Reach out to family members and discuss your needs and how family members could pitch in and help. You may also consider talking to a geriatric social worker. A geriatric social worker can work with you to help create a plan that fits with not only your aging loved one’s needs but also yours.
Do your family members live far from you? They can still help! Read about long-distance caregiving.
As a caregiver, you spend your time assisting others and can easily forget to spend time on yourself. It is extremely important for caregivers to take a break, care for themselves, and relieve stress. Read on the importance of self-care.