It cannot be denied that caregiving for an elderly loved one takes a lot out of you. Even if you consider yourself to be a strong person inside and out, it is crucial to take time for yourself before you become worn out. Mentally burning out is more common than you think for caregivers:
- 20% of employed female caregivers over 50 years old report symptoms of depression compared to 8% of their non-caregiving peers, according to a 2010 MetLife Study.
- 40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression, according to the Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective.
Griswold wants you to know, and to truly believe, that you deserve to ask for help. You deserve to take some time for you. This is not selfish! It’s necessary, not only for your health and wellbeing, but also for the health and wellbeing of the one you care for. If you are burnt out, your caregiving spirit and energy is sure to suffer. Here are 7 ways to acknowledge your limits and ask for help:
- Make others aware that you need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for some assistance! And if necessary, demand it. No one can help you if they aren’t aware you need help.
- Set pride and guilt aside and admit it if you’re struggling. The guilt you’re feeling is most likely only in your head and will subside when you talk it out with someone else.
- Keep communication open and clear. Talking about fears or bad feelings dilutes their burden and makes you feel less alone and isolated.
- Research the services that are available. Griswold provides a wealth of full-time, part-time and respite care services that can help you with your caregiving responsibilities and provide you with the peace of mind that your loved one is well cared for.
- Involve yourself socially. Isolation is a huge trigger for depression, so find activities and groups in your community that interest you and join in!
- Make rest a priority. Purposely schedule time off to decompress and relax.
- Say no. Don’t be afraid to decline a request. As a caregiver, it’s natural to want to help everyone out as much as possible and say “yes-yes-yes” all the time, but this is not your job. You deserve to say “no-no-no” once (or twice) in a while.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s series on Caregiver Appreciation. And we’ve said it before, but we truly can’t say it enough — Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for all that you are and all that you do.
Be sure to check back next week, or subscribe to the Griswold Blog for more advice and information on quality home care!
Comment below if you have a great story to share about a family caregiver that you know!