It’s stressful to be the caregiver for your parents. You have responsibilities to fulfill in your own life, coupled with caring for an aging parent or parents. Life gets more and more complicated as they age and need increasing amounts of care. It can be overwhelming at times.
It’s especially stressful when you have siblings or other family members that are standing back and letting you take on the lion’s share of the work. Resentment and guilt can quickly build up, further increasing your stress level.
Getting Family Members Involved
If you have other family members who can help, it’s important to involve them before reaching the breaking point. Let’s look at three ways for you to get them involved with positive feelings on all sides.
Have a Family Meeting
It’s possible that family members don’t know that you need help. From all outward appearances, it may look like you have everything under control and that you’re feeling good about things. Your family may think you’ve got everything handled.
If that’s not the case and you need their involvement, calling a family meeting and letting them know that you need help will be very helpful for you. Usually, you won’t get help unless you ask.
When you have the meeting, you’ll need to be specific about what you need. Tell them exactly how they can help. For example, you could say, “I need help getting Mom to the doctor every Tuesday afternoon so I can be home with Dad. Who can help and take her to her appointment each week?”
Assess the Strengths and Capabilities of Each Family Member
Every family member has different capabilities. One may be able to help with the housework. Another may be able to help with yard work and other handyman work. Yet another may have the perfect schedule to provide respite care.
When you have the family meeting or phone conversations individually, ask for help from family members that won’t take them out of their comfort zone. Ask them to help according to their strengths. If you have a sister that you know can’t cook, don’t ask her to prepare meals. Instead, ask an aunt who loves to cook to help out.
Involve Long-Distance Family Members
If you’re the primary caregiver, you probably live close to your parents. But, you may very well have family members that live away from your area. They can’t be there physically to help you very often, but they can still be a big help.
Don’t be afraid to ask them for help. Having them stay in touch with your parents by phone or email might take some of the pressure off you. And it may help you to call them once in a while when you need to talk, if you have that type of relationship.
Long-distance family members can also play a part in arranging for professional caregivers, hiring home health and nursing aides, or locating an assisted living facility or nursing home if it becomes necessary.
They also can help by handling some tasks online. For example, researching health problems or medicines, paying bills, or keeping other family members and friends updated.
Hire a Professional Caregiving Agency
You can also ask for outside help if necessary. Your parents may need more help than you and your family can provide. You’ll find that home health care services provide skilled professionals that can help you care for your parents and take much of the burden off of you and your family members. It will give you more energy to devote to caregiving and give you some time for yourself.
Help At Home has been providing personalized in-home care for over 20 years. If you need assistance helping with home care for an aging family member, we can help. When we talk together, you’ll receive personal attention on your very first call. Contact us today. We look forward to helping you and the special person in your life.