While holidays bring opportunities for joy, cherished customs and new experiences, they can also bring feelings of overwhelm with caregiving tasks. Stressed-out or busy caregivers may view traditional holiday preparations as more of an energy drain than joyful. If the very notion of this season is sapping your holiday spirit, read on: [Read more…]
Although 71 per cent of caregivers are interested in using technology to support their caregiving tasks, only seven per cent are using care-related technology, according to AARP’s 2016 Caregiving and Technology study.
Fifty-eight per cent of the caregivers surveyed in a 2018 survey by the Change Foundation said they used the internet for gathering additional information on how to properly care for their loved one. Only 28 per cent turned to formal care providers.
Lisa has been living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for over five years. She and her partner, Michael, just celebrated 20 years together. Each have children from their previous relationships, and both are still working part-time. As Lisa’s symptoms worsen, she requires more assistance. Michael is struggling to balance the demands of being a partner and caregiver to Lisa.
Michael is finding himself feeling sad about the debilitating effect MS is having on Lisa. It’s hard to watch the person he loves no longer able to be the person she once was, and he feels guilty for feeling like he’s losing the partner he once had. Michael is also physically more tired. He’s not sleeping well and his morning exercise routine is being impacted. Both Michael and Lisa are finding themselves socially isolated. They were involved in several community programs and had a healthy social network. Now, they are struggling to figure out a new “normal” for themselves.
Here are a few strategies from spousal caregivers:
“Sure, Mom, I’ll help.” As soon as she spoke the words, Mary thought, “I do not have the time or energy for this! Why did I agree to help?”
Sometimes we say “yes” automatically because we are people-pleasers. We could be feeling guilty or emotionally tied to a situation and, before we even think about the effort involved, we slip out a “yes” response. Being mindlessly agreeable can become a habit and develop into a standard we struggle to maintain.
When I’m working with a caregiver over the phone and I hear them struggling to prioritize their needs or find the time and energy to keep well, it’s incredibly difficult for me to respond with: “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping the person you are caring for.”
It’s one thing for caregivers to understand that if they run out of oxygen, they can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask; it’s another for caregivers to imagine this small act is even possible when they feel stretched to their limit.