Life as a Caregiver is like a being a race car. In order to get through the day, Caregivers are like a machine. Hopefully, you were able to get some sleep before that alarm goes off again at 5 AM. Vroom! Vroom! Start your engines! Pace lap. Time to get a quick meal and a cup of coffee. Green flag. Go! Continue reading for caregiver challenge tips.
My life is a race.
Green. Green. Green. Get the kids out of bed and ready for school. Then its the green flag – get the food shopping done, laundry, dishes, pay the bills, make medical appointments for your family, shower and get ready yourself (well maybe skip showering), make the beds, feed the dogs, make meals AND then help Dad with all his personal needs, make his breakfast, get him out of bed, lunches, medications, medical appointments etc.
Pit stop. But wait, I have a husband too. Sorry honey, not tonight, food, fuel, change a few tires then back out on the track again. Finally, after a long day the checkered flag comes out. Roll into the garage to before it starts all over again tomorrow.
When you become a #Caregiver, one of the things that becomes wrecked in this race is the personal relationship with your spouse or life partner. Who has time to think about being intimate? A side effect of being a Caregiver is loosing your sense of an emotional connection with them. They become just another person on your Pit Crew. Marriage becomes slide lined and not something there is any passion for anymore. You certainly are not thinking about getting a divorce, but for your spouse or life partner it might have crossed their mind.
Unfortunately, today you do not have the time to deal with this. It gets put on a shelf to be dealt with one day in the future.
She/he used to have time for me. I didn’t sign up for this.
Eventually, you’ll find yourselves in two different places. They will want to rekindle that relationship with the person you were in the past – go out to dinner, to a movie, out with friends on the town, but that person does not exist anymore. You are in your own world and you are always on duty. After years of being in this role, it takes a toll on everything.
The Caregiver is in a race that never seems to end. Their sole purpose is the responsibility of another person and their engines just keep running. During all of this, they will never let on that inside they are breaking down. They will never say it and their spouse/life partner may never sees it, but wears away at them just like “rust” on a car. Eventually the caution flags does come out when they hit the wall. But unlike a race car, there isn’t anyone there to check the fuel levels or under the hood for any damage. Instead, they will just tape up that broken fender, put on a happy face to cover up the dents for the spectators in the grand stands and head back out onto the track.
Did your spouse or life partner realize that they were going to become either a spectator in this race or part of your pit-crew? Is your spouse or life partner ready for your Mom to move in with you? Are they ready to be a Co-Care giver with you? It’s not something that comes up as we become “coupled” in life and make our future plans together – children, a new home, retirement etc. It should be and we will help you through it. Identify which Scenario best fits your stage of life here.
There is more to this than just the damage to the Caregiver’s relationships. There is the damage that this role has on the individual. This is known as the Caregiver Syndrome. It is a condition that strongly manifests exhaustion, anger, rage, or guilt resulting from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill patient. Caregivers will suffer this in silence.
It is all very real. My sister and I have been through it while Co-Caregivers for our Dad. My sister and I kept wondering – why is this so difficult, where can we get more help, where do we even go to look for it. We were so unprepared for all of the challenges that came with this responsibility and had no idea the toll it was going to take on us; especially on my sister.
If you have any questions about caregiver challenge tips, please contact At Home Senior Services today!
At Home Senior Services would like to thank Aging Parents Management for sharing their blog with all of this wonderful information with us.