Caregiving is hard...And you're not a failure if you need help.
You feel like a failure. Why can't you do it all?
That seems ridiculous when you read it, but when you feel it, it seems valid and you feel like a failure. Caregiving is hard work. Whether you are simply driving for your loved one now or sitting at their bedside 24x7, caregiving is hard work.
The middle aged — early retirement years are suppose to be the last hurrah but in 2019, they seem anything but. The sandwich generation is being squeezed from both sides, children of their own, grandchildren and aging parents, plus most are still working. This is a time of impressive medical achievement which is allowing people to live longer. Many chronic conditions can be managed now with treatments & medication which is wonderful, we want our loved ones to stay with us for as long as possible, but that means they will need care for much longer than prior generations.
Give yourself permission to stop and think about what is happening, to see the forest not just the tree in front of your face. Many caregivers do not realize what has happened, they started caregiving and it just kept on and on and on and now it is years later and they are fried.
«If you work for a large company there is usually a support line for employees. Reach out to a professional Care Manager and/or Patient Advocate that can point you to community resources and help make a plan for your exact situation.»
When someone you love needs help, your instinct is to help but after an initial triage period you need to move into a long term care mindset. No matter what the situation, car accident, TBI, chronic illness, cancer, Alzheimer's there is an initial period of recovery and adapting to the new normal. A caregiver jumps in not realizing they are in the deep end, that this is now a life long (or many year long situation) and you cannot keep it up alone forever.
Caregivers should allow themselves to take a breath, look for support and help. When you are on an airplane, they say to put the oxygen mask on yourself, then help others — it is same in caregiving. You need to stay healthy, balanced and care for yourself so you are able to care for the other person. Start with searching for support groups related to your particular situation, then reach out to your local organizations that support caregivers. If you work for a large company there is usually a support line for employees. Reach out to a professional Care Manager and/or Patient Advocate that can point you to community resources and help make a plan for your exact situation, allowing for you to get the respite care and support you need and ensuring the one you care for gets what they need. Help can bring perspective so you can see the forest and not be overwhelmed.
I am sorry to say, you cannot do it all but you can do everything you can and it starts with giving yourself permission to care for yourself and asking for help.