As caregivers to our elderly parents, we think that everyone should see that we are drowning. If you really feel like you are drowning, it’s time to ask for help. That small piece of advice can sometimes be the hardest to accept. Caregivers are horrible at asking for help. We also think that we are the only ones who can get the job done correctly. Or that asking for help somehow diminishes the work we have been doing.
Getting help can sometimes be as simple as saying “Yes” when you are asked “Is there anything I can do?”. Make a “job jar” that is filled with the tasks that other people can do for you. You could also try emailing your sister right now to tell her what days next month you will be gone and need her to take care of Mom and Dad. It could be that you end up pleasantly surprised by her response that she is happy to help. Another alternative is to find out how much it would cost to hire in help for those days. Ask her if she would rather pay for the in-home care agency if she is unavailable.
With that free time, you may find yourself coming back to your tasks refreshed and ready to tackle all the stress of being a caregiver. Sometimes the best way to take care of others is to take care of ourselves.