women's hand over older mans on a cane - Building a caregiver support system

You Are Not Alone: Building a Caregiver Support System

Life can change suddenly when you become someone’s caregiver. While you’re busy taking care of a loved one, you may find that you need help from others. All too often, caregivers believe that they need to focus on the task at hand instead of making sure that their needs get met, too.

Eventually, your role as a caregiver can make you feel isolated from friends and family members.

The good news is that you don’t have to carry the whole burden. You are not alone, but you will need to create a caregiver support system that works for you, your loved one and other people in your life.

Put Together an All-Star Team

Nearly 40.5 million adults in the United States spend their days as unpaid caregivers. That level of responsibility can force you to quit your job and filling other obligations. You need other people to help you provide care for your loved one. The fact of the matter is that you can’t do everything on your own.

You can solve this problem by putting together an all-star team of helpers who are particularly suited for specific roles. For instance, if you have a sibling who works nights, then they can come over to give you some relief during the day. If you have multiple siblings, then you can make an online schedule that lets everyone know when they’re responsible for completing a task, whether that means spending time with your loved one or running errands.

You may want to assign some tasks to certain people. If you have a CPA in your family, then that person could do your taxes for you. If you have a cousin who works at a grocery store, have that person bring food and other items to you.

Reach Out to Others for Help

You may not have enough immediate relatives to create your all-star team. If that’s the case, then you need to reach out to others for assistance. Social media and text messaging make it easy for you to communicate with a group quickly. That way, you can communicate with your cousins, aunts, uncles, close friends, neighbors, and members of your religious community.

Not all of the people you reach out to will volunteer to help. That’s fine because assistance from three or four people can help tremendously.

Learn to Accept Help When It’s Offered

Some caregivers get so used to their routines that they may have a hard time accepting help from others. In your mind, you may believe that no one else can take care of your loved one. Even an hour away from them may sound impossible.

The truth is that most people can give you some level of assistance. When they offer their help, you should take it. Help may come in the form of watching your loved one for a few hours so you can go out to dinner and a movie. It may come in the form of meals delivered to your home. No matter what other people offer to do for you, learn to accept the help. Every small bit of kindness adds up.

Share Your Feelings

Becoming a full or part-time caregiver can create a lot of stress in your life. You may feel frustrated that your loved one’s health has derailed your life plans. You may feel that you don’t have time to enjoy leisure activities. You may even feel frustrated trying to handle your loved one’s needs.

Make sure that you have someone willing to listen to you share your feelings. You will feel better after you spend some time talking to a trusted friend or relative.

If you don’t share your feelings, then they may become unbearably painful. Letting off a little steam from time to time is much healthier than feeling angry about life.

Find Resources in Your Community

People have busy lives, so they can’t always give you the time and energy that you would like. Luckily, most communities have resources that can make your job as a caregiver a little easier. Depending on where you live, you may find that you qualify for help from:

    • Meals on Wheels.
    • Religious groups.
    • Nurses and doctors willing to volunteer their time.
    • Government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
    • Support groups that focus on the needs of caregivers.
If you aren’t sure how to access resources in your community, contact us. You’re not the first person to become a caregiver, so why not learn from others who have already been where you are. We have suggestions that help you find the support you need.

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