Maryanne W. asks:
"I take care of both of my parents. I moved them both in with me after my dad got diagnosed with cancer. My mom has been in a wheelchair for 5 years and does what she can but is obviously limited. I still work, so I have a caregiver come to my home a few days a week while I am gone but I am the primary caretaker. My question is, what do I do when I feel like I am just going to explode? I cannot afford anymore care, so that is not an option. I am used to taking care of them and genuinely love spending time with them but sometimes I just feel helpless and overwhelmed. I just want to scream."
Scream. Scream as loud as you need to. Constantly putting others before yourself is hard and you deserve to let out some of the frustration. You are not the only one that feels this way and there is no reason to feel guilty. Every caregiver, professional or family, at one time or another feels like they have lost control, like they are lost. You have to stop and take care of yourself. We understand that spending more money for more care is not an option and that is often the reality for most. Here’s what you can do though, have the caregiver stay an extra hour once a week. It won’t cost much and you can look forward to that hour every week to go do whatever you want. Go for a run, meet up with a friend, or just go for a drive. Whatever it is that makes you feel like yourself again, do it. Don’t do it once every few months or once you feel like you’re on the verge of a meltdown, do it regularly.
If you genuinely love spending time with your parents, then don’t allow yourself to lose that. You will grow resentful if you don’t take time for yourself and will miss out on so many happy memories because you were mentally checked out. Families often tell mothers of young children to take the night off, to take a break while they watch the kids. Why should it be any different just because they are your parents? Let yourself enjoy your time with them by letting yourself breath.
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*All information is meant as advice based on personal experience and should not be referred to as medical data.