Imagine sitting down and writing a letter to your younger self. There are probably plenty of things you can say, advice you can offer that could have changed the course of your life for the better. Most people are wiser as they get older and look back on their younger ideas, thoughts, and actions and wish they could change things. When you’re a family caregiver, the stress you feel can be tremendous, but maybe you didn’t anticipate this.
What would you say? What are some of the things you would write to your younger self about expectations and what may happen before you took on this role of taking care of your elderly mother or father?
It’s tougher than you thought.
You thought this was going to be relatively easy. After all, you have a personal relationship with this other individual. How hard could be to stop by every once in a while and assist him or her with whatever support they need?
What you didn’t anticipate when you first agreed to take care of this individual was just how much time you would have to devote to their safety and proper care.
You don’t have as much time as you think.
When you’re writing this letter to your younger self, you probably remember thinking you have all the time in the world. Sure, you have a full-time job, but maybe your children were full grown, you didn’t have much else going on in your life, so you had plenty of time, right?
That wasn’t the case, was it? That’s because the more you supported this elderly person, the more they began to call on you for help with many other things throughout the day. It reached a point where you started giving up whatever hobbies or other activities you had enjoyed to that point.
It’s going to hurt your relationships.
Maybe the relationship you have with your spouse, sibling, or other family members and friends has been hampered because you are devoting all of your free time to this elderly family member. You didn’t anticipate that happening, either.
You can’t believe the sacrifice.
It is a sacrifice. When you’re providing support and care to an elderly family member, you are sacrificing your own time, energy, and activity. Your younger self didn’t think that was going to happen.
What to do with this letter?
Just acknowledge the challenge you’re facing and how much more difficult this is than you anticipated. When you can acknowledge that, you may then be ready to think about hiring a home care aide to help, even if only for a couple of hours a few days a week.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING CAREGIVERS IN MATTHEWS, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF CHARLOTTE. (704) 246-5806.