Taking care of an ill parent can result in a wave of different emotions: sadness, helplessness, frustration, fear, and perhaps even a bit of resentment. You may find yourself growing tired as the challenge of making sure your loved one gets the best care possible begins to wear on you – the Superhero Caregiver. Here are four things to keep in mind when tending to your sick family member.
You are a Superhero Caregiver but You’re Not Superhuman – and That’s Okay
If you’re in the overwhelming situation where you’re trying to look after the needs of your own young family and look after your aging relatives at the same time, it is going to be challenging, to say the least. Perhaps you’re even juggling a fulltime job on top of all of this. Although Wonder Woman and Superman made things look all too easy in the movies, in reality there is no such thing. You’re not Wonder Woman or Superman and that is NOT a bad thing. Cut yourself some slack and accept that you physically cannot be in four places at once. Recognizing your limitations will help reduce some of the guilt you may be feeling over not being able to do it all.
Ask Yourself: What Do I Need?
Your loved one’s health has been steadily declining and you’ve been doing your very best to take care of him or her. This has been a real roller coaster of emotions for all of you. As much as your aging relative needs love and support, so do you. Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself what you need. What do you need in order to provide the best care for your family and for yourself? If your own physical and mental health also declines, you won’t be any use to anyone.
Know When to Ask For Help
This is the time when you may need to turn to outside help. Whether it’s asking a neighbour to help babysit your children while you take your father to an appointment, enlisting a friend’s help to prepare a few healthy meals, or setting up a meeting with a psychologist, don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help. Needing additional support doesn’t make us weak. In fact, it makes us stronger. Knowing what you want and how to get it is a sign of a powerful individual.
Fully understanding what you’re dealing with doesn’t make the reality of the situation any better, but will help ease the feeling of loss of control. Read up on your loved one’s condition so you have a better idea of what to expect in the short and long run. Part of the stress of caring for a sick relative is the unknown, so educating oneself is the key to reducing some of the fears you may be having as a caregiver.