Caregiving isn’t a one-person show
Tell me if this sounds familiar: your to-do lists are longer than a CVS receipt, you can’t remember the last time you got a full night’s sleep, and you haven’t had a relaxed meal in months. You’re exhausted and feeling resentful.
If this sounds like your life, you’re not alone. Too many family caregivers feel like this. It’s not your fault that you can’t get everything done – you need help. Taking care of an older adult just isn’t something one person can do alone (and stay healthy and happy).
Sometimes it’s tough to find the help you need. But often, there are people who sincerely offer to help or local services you could use…but you turn them down out of habit. Trying to get help with caregiving feels uncomfortable and maybe even makes you feel guilty.
Why it can be hard to accept help
Allowing others to help, asking for help, or hiring help is something many caregivers resist. There’s a natural tendency to feel like you can get everything done on your own and that you’re the only one who can get it done right.
Often, caregivers don’t accept help because of underlying feelings of guilt, fear, and unworthiness.
Guilt and fear
- You feel guilty for even wanting help and for not wanting to do everything yourself.
- You worry that things won’t turn out right, your older adult will get hurt, or people will blame you for not doing it yourself.
- You don’t feel that you deserve support or help.
- As the spouse / adult child / relative, you’re supposed to do it all yourself.
Lack of trust
- It’s scary to trust others with important tasks, count on them, and to believe that things will be okay even if you’re not there to manage every aspect of the situation.
3 ways to overcome negative feelings about getting help with caregiving
First, it’s helpful to notice and admit to yourself that you’re having some of these feelings. Next, slowly work through these feelings rather than let them keep you overworked and completely stressed out.
3 tips for working through negative feelings about accepting caregiving help
- Ease guilt and fears by reminding yourself that having negative feelings about caregiving is normal, life is unpredictable, and that constantly being afraid or worried about what might happen isn’t going to prevent bad things from happening.
- Overcome feelings of unworthiness by talking about it with a trusted friend. Get their opinion on how you’re feeling. We bet they’ll convince you that you definitely need and deserve the help!
- Increase trust and reduce worry by having someone work together with you on caregiving tasks for a week before you leave them alone with your older adult.
Getting help can even make you a better caregiver
Did you know that getting help will actually make you a better caregiver? That might sound crazy, but it’s true.
If you get help, you’ll reduce stress, cut down your to-do list, and be able to regularly take time for yourself. This is guaranteed to improve your health and mood. When you’re feeling better, you’ll be more patient and caring with your older adult.
You might also like:
— 4 Caregiving Tips for Getting Siblings to Help with Parents
— Overcome 3 Excuses from Relatives Who Avoid Caregiving
— Local Community Resources for Seniors and Caregivers: Area Agency on Aging
— Medicare Pays for In-Home Care Under the PACE Program
By DailyCaring Editorial Team