The nature of care needs is that they arise and develop, sometimes slowly, bringing subtle changes into our lives. Over time, these incremental shifts create a dramatic separation from the life we had. Being aware of the needs of our loved ones gives us the perspective to reach out for the support we need, too. With that in mind, here are some thoughts and questions to help you assess if you’ve unknowingly become a caregiver for your aging loved one.
One person simply can’t do it all.
“I see a lot of stressed out 40- to 60-year-olds who are trying to manage a career, kids, and their parents,” says Kim DeRoche, MD. “I hear about it when a woman comes in for her ‘annual’ physical and hasn’t been in for three or four years. They know they’re not taking care of themselves the way they did before they had to take care of someone else.”
Caring for our loved ones is a natural – and wonderful – response, but it can quickly become too much for us if our plate is full with other responsibilities. Today, seniors are living longer and expect to stay in their homes longer, and that’s increasing the demands on whoever is providing support. Assessing what help we can reasonably provide is crucial to making sure everyone gets what they need.
Do any of these scenarios sound like your life?
- Your shopping list includes your loved one’s groceries, too.
- You’ve had to take time off at work in order to drive your loved one to their appointments.
- You’re not eligible for Medicare, but you’ve been Googling to figure it out.
- You talk to your loved one’s doctors more than you talk to your own.
- You’ve covertly checked your loved one’s fridge to make sure they’re eating right.
- You have a hunch your loved one isn’t staying on top of bills like they used to.
- You run as many errands for your loved one as you do for yourself.
- Your to-do list includes finding your loved one a dog walker, hiring a snow shoveler, and making sure they are taking their pills.
- You are spending more and more time trying to understand your loved one’s finances and helping them with medical decisions.
- It feels like you’re constantly driving to your loved one’s house and are never at your own.
- Decisions about what to do for a loved one are causing family discord.
- You worry about your loved one more than ever.
Find help with Caregiver Assurance.
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, and life has called you into the position of caregiver, make sure you get the proper support for yourself. Help is available at Fairview and Ebenezer, where we have created Caregiver Assurance, a new service that connects caregivers with a Caregiver Advisor to help navigate this challenging role. You may also be interested in attending one of our many support groups for caregivers, held across Minnesota at our senior living communities. For more information, visit our Caregiver Assurance Page or call 612-672-CARE (2273) to speak with one of our Caregiver Advisors.
Make sure to check out our Ebenezer blog for more helpful articles and caregiver support.