Choosing to become a caregiver for a parent or other family member is a big commitment. Caregiving can be an almost full-time job, with a high amount of responsibilities. Your time with your own husband and children can be greatly impacted. You need to start planning so you do not forget your own family, and their needs.
It is very easy to get caught up in the job of caregiving. You have extra cleaning, cooking, bill paying, bathing, laundry, and driving duties. You can easily become so wrapped up in your duties as a caregiver you start forgetting one of the things which makes life worth living, your family. Your family understands your needs and responsibilities, and may keep their mouths closed, and not tell you about their complaints, concerns, and worries. You need to take the lead and sit down with them for regular updates.
When you choose to be a caregiver, choose to set aside one time each week to sit down with all of your family members. Discuss their concerns, and try to get a new perspective on whether their needs are being met. You may need to pry a little to get them to open up.
One thing these meetings should not do is add to your burden. You are not superhuman and able to take on more and more responsibilities. This is a time for planning, and thinking up new ideas. If your children feel neglected, ask them if they would like to come over, if you are doing caregiving at your family members home. If they are missing your interaction for school events, or other activities, it is time to move to the next step.
Being a caregiver should never be a solo job. You need to enroll the help of other family members to share the challenges, at least part of the time. You need a break, and so do your children and spouse. If family members are not available, check with church members, family friends, or even consider hiring a part-time caregiver for occasional assistance. It may cost you a few extra dollars, but it is an investment in caring for your family.
Sometimes when you take on the job of caregiver, you know it is for a short period of time. This may due to a disease which is moving quickly, and your loved one will not be with you long. It could be due to recovery after a medical procedure. In either case, make sure your children are well informed of what you expect. Even younger children deserve to understand the commitment you are making, and when they might expect their normal life back.
Their is one critical person in your family you must not neglect, or all of these efforts are guaranteed to fail. You must take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to take breaks and escape. You need to recharge your batteries, and keep your mind clear. When you take care of yourself, it is much easier to take care of all the other issues.
Congratulations on your choice to participate in caregiving. It will be very rewarding. Just make sure to take care of yourself and your family as the highest priority, and all the other challenges will fall into place.