How Do I Address My Feelings as a Caregiver?
Look in Your Circle for Help
If you are a caregiver, it is okay to turn to family, friends, and professionals for support. Finding someone to listen to your concerns can be very comforting during this time. Many places offer emotional support for caregivers.
- Your relative’s health care team, such as counselor or social worker
- Local or online support such as internet or caregiving chat rooms or national caregiver organizations
- Your church, synagogue, mosque, or other places of worship
Consider Making a Plan of Action
If you are the primary caregiver for your friend or relative, it will fall on you to work with the health care team and ensure that all the patient’s needs are met. To gain some control over the situation, you may wish to consider a plan of action:
- Determine the patient’s needs- list the activities that must be done to be adequately cared for.
- Decide which needs you can meet on your own. There may be caregiving responsibilities you can handle on your own and some that will require assistance.
- Determine which needs can be met by others. Although you may feel the desire to do everything yourself and not “burden” others, learning to ask for help is vital to minimalize exhaustion and burnout.
- Identify family and friends to whom you can turn for help. Next to their names, record any specialized skills or resources they may offer and their schedule when they have free time. Family members and friends may contribute to caregiving in many valuable ways and are often willing to participate.
- Establish the need for outside professional help. You should not feel ashamed or guilty if you don’t feel comfortable performing certain medical procedures or need help with patient care.
Ask for Help
After you have taken the time to see the complete picture, it’s time to communicate with your family and friends. Here are some helpful tips:
- Sit down with them in person or find a quiet time to speak on the phone
- Review the list of patient needs and plan of action
- Discuss specific areas in which you think they can help
- Ask them if they would like to participate
- Inquire about whether they would like to help in a particular area
- Clearly explain the tasks and what they can do to help
- Make sure that they understand precisely what would be helpful for you as well as the patient.
Communicate frequently with your health care team, ask about office hours, and a hotline in case of emergencies. Inquire about additional resources that may be available. They may be able to help you identify resources to help you address some of the gaps or provide options for when your loved one can no longer live safely on their own.
At MJHS, we value both personal and professional caregivers and recognize the critical work you do. That is why we have created these online caregiving resources to help you through this crucial time in your life.
If you need additional help and support caring for your loved one, please feel free to contact MJHS. We can recommend other care options available to you through one of our programs.