Being a primary caregiver for an aging parent or family member is an enormous commitment. It requires patience, organization, and sacrifice. It can impact almost every aspect of your life: your finances, your career, your relationships, and your physical and mental health. You’ve done a commendable thing by stepping up as a caregiver, but at a certain point, it may become too much.
How do you know it’s time for support, though? How do you find new arrangements? And most importantly, how do you tell your family member you can no longer care for them full-time? These all seem like complicated questions, but you can answer them confidently with the proper preparation and attitude.
With assisted living and memory care communities throughout San Antonio, Texas, Franklin Park Senior Living is sharing some tips and strategies for ensuring that you can find the support needed to best take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Knowing It’s Time for Support
When people first offer to care for an aging parent or family member, it may not be a considerable commitment. It may start as weekly grocery runs or house cleaning, driving to and from doctor’s appointments, or helping with medication management. Over time, though, the responsibilities may grow, turning into daily visits and even assistance with personal care like bathing and dressing.
Eventually, these responsibilities can become overwhelming as you try to manage other responsibilities in life, but when is the turning point? Here are two indications that it could be time for caregiver support.
1. Their Needs Have Significantly Changed
When you first became a caregiver, your family member’s needs may have been manageable, but if they have changed to the point where you can no longer handle them, it could be time to think about outside support. These changes could include needing more attentive medical-based care, requiring equipment, presenting safety concerns, or requiring more focused support due to dementia or memory impairment. In these cases, it can be helpful to have professional assistance who can help with such specialized needs.
2. Experiencing Caregiver Burnout
The other sign that it could be time for caregiver support is that your needs, priorities, and lifestyles have changed. For many, caregiving can resemble a full-time job, and if someone already has a full-time job, family, and commitments, it can quickly become too much to manage. Many caregivers find themselves in a state of burnout, experiencing symptoms like:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of interest in activities
- Difficulty maintaining relationships or friendships
- Getting sick more often
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Changes in appetite or weight loss/gain
- Feeling constantly exhausted
Eventually, these burnout symptoms can manifest physically and lead to real health problems. When this happens, it is undeniable that caregiver support is needed.
Now that you’re confident it’s time for caregiver support, you may be wondering what the next steps are. Even though you know that no longer being your family member’s primary caregiver is what’s best for you, it can still be a heartbreaking and guilt-filled decision. You want your family to understand that you’re prioritizing your own wellness and not abandoning them. Here are some tips on how you can move forward.
Talk to Your Family
The most important way to communicate with your family that you can no longer be the primary caregiver is to do so openly, honestly, and without blame or excuses. Be sure to emphasize that you’ll still be providing care, just not in the same way as before.
If your parent or family member requires care that you’re not trained to provide, voice that you are doing the best thing for them by handing over your responsibilities to a professional. It’s vital to tell your family that you will still be in their lives; you need to set boundaries to allow you to focus on yourself.
Research Care Options
Before having the conversation with your family, be able to provide solutions for how to move forward. Whether it’s having another sibling or family member take over some care responsibilities, hiring an in-home caregiver, or transitioning to an assisted living community, talk with your parent(s) about their options and what would best work for their needs and lifestyle.
Making the Transition
Even if you and your family have decided that assisted living or memory care is the best choice, it can still be a difficult and emotional transition. However, it’s important to remind everyone involved that this is ultimately the best and safest decision.
Franklin Park Senior Living offers assisted living and memory care throughout San Antonio, Texas, and we know how complex it can be to make the move to senior living. We’ve created a free eBook that helps families navigate the transition and safely and happily move to an assisted living community.
Deciding that it’s time for caregiver support is an admirable decision. If you are feeling overwhelmed as a caregiver or simply believe that your parent or family member would benefit from a community-based lifestyle of support and care, we encourage you to contact Franklin Park Senior Living to discover our assisted living services throughout San Antonio, Texas.