The average family caregiver spends just over 24 hours a week providing care. On top of this, family caregivers often have full-time jobs, responsibilities at home, errands to run, and commute times to factor in.
If your commute to and from work takes a full hour and you work 8 hours each day, that’s 9 hours eaten up right there. Factor in about an hour each day for personal care and hygiene, an hour for meals, and 7 or 8 hours of sleep. You’re up to 18 or 19 hours spent just on your job and your own needs.
Now, you have your mom’s care needs that take up an average of 3 to 4 hours. That’s just about your entire day used up. Where do you fit in time for your spouse/partner, children, and friends?
You Need to Prioritize
You need to prioritize. You have to be top priority. If you focus on your own needs last and end up burning out, how helpful is that?
There’s a saying a lot of caregiver support groups use. “You can’t pour from an empty pot.” Think about this. If you’ve done so much with the hot water in the pot that it’s now down to a few drops, what more can you really get done?
The same is true of care. If you’ve spent so much time meeting your mom’s needs that you’ve ignored your own, you risk depression, anxiety, or even a compromised immune system. If you suddenly can’t get out of bed because you’re exhausted, who is there to help your mom for the long run?
After focusing on your own mental and physical health, you can help the others in your life. Depending on their age, your children may need to be next. Don’t ignore a spouse/partner, but you can make that person lower in priority. The same goes for your friends.
Family Caregiving Can Be Required for Years
Depending on your mom’s health and care needs, you could be looking at a decade or more as a family caregiver. The average for family caregiving is 4 years, but almost one-quarter of family caregivers fill that role for 5 or more years. Around 15 percent are in that role for more than a decade. Can you go that long without a social life?
You need to make sure you’re not ignoring others while you devote all day and night to your mom. You put yourself at risk of anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Start by practicing self-care and make sure you leave time to socialize with others. Elder care aides are there to help you take breaks. Call an elder care agency and discuss respite care and part-time home care services.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Long Prairie, MN please contact the caring staff at Alternative Senior Care today. Providing Home Care in Central Minnesota and Surrounding Communities. Call us Today (320) 352-3350.
Cindy grew up in Sauk Centre and raised her three children here. She has five grandchildren.Married to Mike since 2010, she keeps busy with gardening and outdoor activities.
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