There are more than 34 million family caregivers in the United States, according to the AARP. People who take on the role of caregiver for a sick or elderly relative do so out of feelings of love or loyalty. But before you start this difficult job, you need to know some of the challenges you’ll face.
Elderly people often won’t admit they need help. They may fear giving up their independence. Don’t just come in and start running their lives. Include them in the decision making process as much as possible.
Prepare for sacrifice
Caregiving will take time away from things you want to do. Some caregivers have sacrificed vacations, time with friends or hobbies because of their caregiving responsibilities.
Learn to juggle
You’ll need to be able to manage your schedule so you can get Mom to her doctor’s appointment, make it to the meeting at work and to your son’s soccer game.
You may be called upon to help with doctor co-pays, pharmacy bills or other costs. There may be a loss of income if you take time off work because of your caregiving responsibilities.
Physical and mental strain
Often caregivers neglect their health while taking care of others. The stress can leave you fatigued; you may be anxious and have trouble sleeping. If you are not careful, it could lead to depression or even alcohol abuse.
If you and your siblings all help care for your mom, you may disagree on how much care she needs or how to pay for it. If you are your mom’s sole caregiver, you may be resentful if your siblings don’t help out.
If the challenges of caregiving become too much for you, you need to get help before you burn out. Contact a Synergy HomeCare agency to find out how they can assist you in caring for your elderly parents.