By CarePatrol of San Mateo County
Caring for your aging loved one is a very difficult task. At times, it can feel overwhelming. Many caregivers report feeling emotionally or physically exhausted as a result of their caregiving duties. This is called Caregiver Burnout. Don’t worry! There are things you can do to avoid (or lessen) caregiver burnout.
Get Organized And Find A Routine
Being a caregiver means keeping track of everything for your loved one. You need to know their schedule and help with their finances - maybe you even manage their medications. Once everything is organized in one area, it feels much more manageable!
To start, get a few folders to separate medical, financial, and personal paperwork. You’ll also want to use a calendar or planner to keep track of all appointments and upcoming social events.
When you and Mom return from a doctor’s visit, any paperwork goes straight into the medical folder. If there is a medical emergency where Mom needs to go to the doctor with someone other than you, everything is easy to find and the doctors have all the medical information that they need to make quick, informed decisions for Mom’s care.
Your financial folder is where you’ll store things like bank statements and bills. Even if Mom is still handling her own checkbook, you’ll find it handy to keep all of this information together. Most seniors will require some help with their finances at one point or another.
Any other documents that you might need to reference quickly go into the personal folder. If Mom’s cable goes out, you’ll be glad to know exactly where to find the contact information for tech support. This is also a great place to store things like the phone number for the neighbor kid who mows the lawn or shovels the snow.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Caregiver Burnout can happen easily when you take on too many tasks. Dad probably has plenty of friends and neighbors who would be happy to help out with little things. When someone says, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help”, take them up on it!
You don’t need to delegate anything too difficult or too personal. Every little thing that you have someone else do is one less thing to have on your mind. Being a caregiver can take up all of your free time if you let it! Make sure that you’re finding some time to focus only on your needs.
It’s not unreasonable for you to ask Dad’s neighbor lady to fill up the bird feeder outside his window once a week as she does her gardening. A friend or family member might be happy to plan to eat lunch with Dad every Wednesday to give you a break. It might be time to have a discussion about hiring someone to come in to help with some of the more difficult tasks like bathing or cleaning.
Help is still available even if you and Dad don’t know anyone in the area! There are volunteer organizations in most cities that can provide assistance. Check with your local Aging and Disability Resource Center, library, or religious groups to see what they can do.
Being a caregiver for your aging parents and loved ones is a very difficult job. You need to do everything you can to make the job as easy as possible.