Like so many other family caregivers, I often place my own care on the back burner because I’m focused on the immediate needs of those I’m caring for. But that self-neglect eventually catches up with me — sometimes dramatically. I share one eye-opening experience in my new book, Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving.
When you’re a caregiver, a small act of kindness — from a helping hand to a sympathetic ear — can mean so much.
I remember standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, my eyes swollen from crying and feeling exhausted. My beloved sister, Karen, had passed away a couple of weeks earlier — a loss I was struggling with while also working and caring for Dad, who has Alzheimer’s. I was running on empty.
One of the most common questions I get from overwhelmed caregivers is, “How can I get my family members to help me more with caregiving?” My advice: We can make ourselves crazy trying to change other people. We need to accept what they will and will not do, and think more broadly about who else can fill the gaps. As a primary caregiver for my parents and other family members, I’ve found that I need different kinds of assistance.