I’ve been having a lot of trouble with keeping up my responsibilities at home. These are all things that my husband and I used to share, but I’m starting to get overwhelmed with everything. It’s all up to me to care for him, clean the house, pay the bills, and then people tell me to take care of myself. But how am I supposed to have time to do that when I have so much to deal with?
You’re saying exactly what we hear from so many caregivers – caregiving is not an easy job. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, like you need more hours in the day. Just know you’re not alone! Two things I’d recommend:
First, accept the help that you have. Friends, family and neighbors may offer to help – let them. Maybe make a list of things they can help with so you have ideas to share when they ask. These can be simple things; maybe your neighbor could take a walk with your loved one. Your loved one gets some fresh air and you have a half-hour to pay a bill or take a breather. Maybe a friend could pick up some extra groceries when they go that would save you a trip. There are often little things that friends can help with that add up. If you don’t feel like you can ask (or you’re still feeling overwhelmed), you can also look into other community services to take a few things off your to-do list. Home care agencies or adult day centers allow your loved one to be taken care of, while you can have some respite time as well.
Second, you have to make time for yourself. It’s so important to practice self-care in order to be able to take care of someone else. Self-care doesn’t always have to look like a full-day, stop everything else kind of thing. Maybe you’re able to schedule a lunch date with a friend once a month by yourself. Maybe it’s taking 15 minutes to yourself after your loved one has gone to bed to start a book or watch a favorite TV show. Find something small that you can do to recharge your batteries. Caregiving is a demanding job, and please remember you’re not alone. There are a lot of support services out there, including at Insight, to help you on your caregiving journey.
We're answering your questions in our "Ask Insight" series this month. If you have a question you'd like answered, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 703-204-4664!
Ellie Pettoni is the Social Services Coordinator at Insight Memory Care Center.