Updated: Oct 29, 2021
If you help someone with daily activities such as:
-Dressing -Feeding -Bathing -Toileting -Make and drive someone to appointments -Financially support or manage finances for someone -Physically help someone move their body -Arrange transportation for someone -Prepare and/or give medications to someone -Choose clothing for them/wash someone’s clothing for them -Shop and prepare meals for someone -Provide emotional support for someone -Monitor someone’s mental or physical progress
You are a caregiver. -Lambie & Bellybutton Blog
Parents are our first givers (thanks mom and dad!) and sometimes siblings help parents out, too if they reach an age where they are able to. Families help each other raise kids and nurture them and help them to become successful adults.
However, there are times in life when things happen and things are turned around. Something happens to mom or dad and they need US to take care of THEM.
Or in another instance (like mine), I became my wife’s caregiver only months after we first got together. I got to take a crash course in her diseases and how to take care of her at home, and learn her medications, and help her with the things that qualify me as her caregiver, and even still to this day, I am happy to be her caregiver.
I have learned things along the way. I have learned that I need to take care of myself more, so I can be at my best for Candace, as well as for the kids, and the furbaby, too. Thankfully the kids are at an age where they can help out much more with the house stuff, and it takes some weight off my shoulders. They are kids, and kids will be kids, always.
Things that I have done better to take care of myself is to build my days more around a routine. I try to go to sleep at the same time every night, but I always make sure to wake up at the same time every morning (at least during the week). I try to have my meals at the same time every day, especially lunch.
My income was cut more than half about a month ago, and I have had to work many more hours and pick up a lot more projects from my business to make up that lost income. Thankfully my business has been doing well. Some weeks are more fruitful than others, but I am thankful to have any work at all. My editing/writing website is www.kristinehutchinson.com.
Thankfully, during the day, I have had time to work on projects, when there aren’t any doctor’s appointments for myself, Candace, or the kids. Before the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, it seemed like we had at least three medical appointments every week. Candace had some, and I had some for myself, and so did the kids. We would hardly ever be home. Thankfully, at least for right now, all of our appointments are telehealth appointments. Travel time and having to prepare to leave the house, help Candace get ready or make sure the kids were ready, and everything else that comes with it was always fun (not). But it needed to be done, so I always plan for it ahead of time, even now.
At night, when I wrap up for the day, sometimes I listen to some guided meditation and sometimes I pray the Rosary. I usually like to lay in bed and read, though. I am a huge fan of fiction. Candace introduced me to a series by James Rollins and ever since then I have been hooked. It’s science meets history and government agencies. If you have some time, check it out!
For me, it’s all about balance. It’s also about me knowing that I don’t have to do EVERYTHING. I can plan on doing things at another time and they don’t have to be done right away. For some things, I have a designated day to do certain things and I make sure to STICK TO IT because if I don’t, it will drive me crazy. I have learned to say no to certain things, and I have learned through professional help and prayer to say no to some things, and also to be able to express my feelings in a more polite and respectful manner.
Caregiver burnout is a real thing.
Caregiver burnout (According to WebMD) is a “state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude — from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able — either physically or financially. Caregivers who are ‘burned out’ may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill or elderly loved ones.” The symptoms of caregiver burnout are similar to the symptoms of stress and depression. They may include: -Withdrawal from friends and family -Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed -Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless -Changes in appetite, weight, or both -Changes in sleep patterns -Getting sick more often -Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring -Emotional and physical exhaustion -Excessive use of alcohol and/or sleep medications -Irritability (WebMD)
Here is a great link to the Lambie & Bellybutton Blog that I referred to earlier. This is about caregiver burnout prevention: https://lambieandbellybutton.com/2019/03/30/preventing-caregiver-burnout/
Nobody should have to go through caregiver burnout. All I have heard from so many people is “you need to take care of yourself” but nobody really showed me how. I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to take care of yourself while you are a caregiver. You can make time for yourself and still do the things you enjoy. You are not in this alone, and there is always help, even for an hour or two. That’s enough time to get some fresh air, or for God’s sake, even take a much-needed nap.