“Check on your friends who are caring for their aging parents. We are not okay.”
This was a post a Facebook friend of mine created recently.
This friend is in her late twenties and is currently caring for her parents.
Her statement made me sad, however, her situation is very common.
According to the National Alliance on Care-giving and the AARP, 48% of caregivers are between the ages of 18-49 years old.
You’d like to enjoy your youth but at the same time, you have the responsibility of taking care of a loved one who depends on you.
What should you do?
How do you cope?
In today’s post, I’ll discuss some of the steps you can take to ensure you’re taking the best care of yourself while caring for your loved one.
Caring for the caregiver – Tips for younger caregivers
Join a support group
Whether you realize it or not, we all need support. We all do.
And especially when the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one is one you bear.
So look for support communities both online and offline where you can interact with other people going through the same things.
You will find resources in these communities you never knew about.
Plus there is the potential to form meaningful relationships that will help your mental health.
Speak to a counselor or therapist
Seeing a counselor or therapist does not mean there is something wrong with you.
Just like you get regular check ups for your physical body, it is good to get regular check ups for your mind as well.
This is where a trained mental health professional like a counselor or therapist can help you.
While there are several frameworks a mental health professional can guide you through, it does help to know that there is someone you can chat with about what you’re going through emotionally.
Look for resources from your local and state governments
Your local and state governments may have resources you can tap into.
As a caregiver, your ability to take certain jobs could greatly affect how much money you can make.
This can definitely put a financial strain on the family and be stressful.
Your local and/or state government may have resources like respite (so you can take some time off for yourself) or financial incentives for people like you. It’s worth doing your research on these types of resources.
Discuss your situation with your boss
It doesn’t hurt to discuss your situation with your boss and come to an agreement about what your work hours and responsibilities should be.
During this time, you may still need to depend on your job for an income to support yourself and your loved one.
Remote work is becoming more and more acceptable in the workplace.
If your work is something you can carry out from home, discuss it with them.
If remote work is not something they’re willing to consider, how about switching your hours?
Here’s the deal: if there is anything that can be done about your work situation to support your caregiver role, don’t hesitate to ask.
You just never know what could come out of that conversation.
What financial provisions does your aging loved one have? Find out.
Do they have a retirement fund? A savings account? Some other financial investment that could support your care-giving role?
How about healthcare plans like Medicare and Medicaid?
Ask your loved ones and work with them so that you can use this money to support them as well.
Take time out to do things for yourself.
This suggestion is a difficult one.
Between your work life and taking care of your loved one at home, where are you supposed to find the time to take care of yourself?
This may require some creativity on your part.
You may ask a friend or another family member to help out.
You could depend on respite services for help.
Or you could hire a professional home care service like our care aides at Green Tree Home Care to help you out.
Whichever path you choose, you have to realize that doing things for yourself will rejuvenate you so you can be a better caregiver.
Those are my tips for younger caregivers.
Are you a younger caregiver? Do you know someone who is? Did you find these tips for younger caregivers useful?
Share this post with someone so they know they’re not alone.