As a human being you have limitations. You may feel almost invulnerable, strong, healthy, and full of energy, but if you’re planning to become a family caregiver, you need to understand your limits right from the start.
What happens if you don’t?
If you overestimate your abilities or if you underestimate your limitations, you could end up feeling overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, and physical challenges. Right now, your elderly parent or other loved one needs some assistance. It may only be minimal assistance and that seems to be no real problem.
However, within a few days, weeks, or certainly months things will change. They may become overreliant on you stopping by to help them with every little thing. They might call on you to take out the garbage for them. They may need help to go to the store. They might have trouble doing some cleaning, change a lightbulb, or checking the smoke detectors.
The more assistance a person receives, especially as it makes life easier to deal with, the more often they call on help at an increasing rate of frequency into the future. Before you know it you could be having your phone ring 10 times a day with your loved one asking for help from morning through the evening.
You can’t do everything.
If you try to do everything because you don’t want your loved one to be at risk you’re going to wear yourself then. You’re going to feel the effects of stress infiltrating every aspect of your life. It could affect your career, your relationships, your friendships, and your health.
You may stop exercising.
Many family caregivers stop exercising and they even begin grabbing fast food more frequently. This is not a healthy thing to do. However, you don’t really have time to make a nice, healthy, home-cooked meal anymore. What other option do you have?
Sure, you can sit down and have a nice healthy dinner with your loved one, but more often than not family caregivers help prepare a meal and then head home to be able to relax. That’s not going to give you much time for yourself.
You need to acknowledge the stress in your life.
If you don’t you won’t be making time for yourself. If you don’t make time for yourself you are exceeding your limits and increasing the risk of developing certain health issues, including anxiety, that can ultimately leave you unable to provide any support and assistance to those who need it most.