Caregivers like us don’t get through the day unless you are a machine. You have to get your kids ready for school, get 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. But wait, I have a husband too. Marriage or even dating becomes a chore. Do I feel like being intimate after putting in a day like this – every day? Do I want to invest in dating someone? Absolutely not!
Machines have to keep going. We do not have the time nor the energy to offer any more of ourselves to another individual. We do not have time to look in the mirror or to put on makeup or get dressed up anymore. We cannot make any plans because others rely on us. But just any engine, eventually it will needs to shut down and refuel itself so it does not breakdown. Unfortunately, there is no time for that, therefore, for the time being our personal relationships are put on the shelf and I’ll get to it later when I have time.
The only way to find time to maintain your personal relationships is by taking control. Maybe what holds us back from doing this is we were grew up with our parents being the ones in control. It is very strange when you are the daughter, son, daughter or son-in law to all of a sudden become the person who is in charge of your parents now. However, unless you set the ground work for this new relationship, it will take a toll on the ones you have with your parent and others around you. We are not implying that you have to be mean to your parent instead it is out of love that you are doing this. If not, you will be the one who will become changed by this entire experience.
If you want to find time to maintain your personal relationships, you are going to invest time in becoming more efficient and effective in the way you manage this Care Manager role. AgingParentsManagement is here to help. Make a quick list of all of the tasks you manage for your parent. We know – who has time for this? Ask yourself, can that task be delegated to someone else or is there an APP that can help manage it better? Possibly the top two on your list is housekeeping chores and your parent’s personal hygiene. So start here. Tell you parent that you’d like to have a home care agency come twice a week to help them shower and do some light housekeeping or even their laundry. They may not like the idea at first, but be honest with them but kind. The other tasks on your list may be: grocery shopping and/or making meals. Perhaps put in a trial online grocery or meal delivery order.
Do not feel that you have to start implementing outside service all at once – make these changes gradually. Also, you will need to change your mindset about your parents being against any of these changes. Tell them that you would like to try this new way, at least once. The key word is “try”. Unless you are willing to try the products and services to help you in this role, the only thing that is going to change is you.