Taking Stock

Five questions to ask yourself now. 

Everyone’s caregiving journey is different. But they all start the same way.

When your parent needed help, you stepped up — whether it happened gradually over time or suddenly after a hospital stay. 

You answered the call, whether or not you were ready. Or your siblings were willing and able to help. 

But while you’re focused on doing what needs to be done, “time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” 

It’s easy for weeks to fade into months — even years — without stopping to take stock of how caring for your parent has affected your life. 

That’s a common mistake, writes author and columnist Carol Bradley Bursack:

“As a family caregiver, you must take a step back and have a frank talk with yourself. Doing some honest soul searching can help you sort out your priorities, set goals for your loved one’s care, and establish boundaries that will safeguard your own physical and mental health.”

Bursack prescribes five questions every family caregiver should ask themselves:

  1. If you have children at home, how does caregiving affect your ability to meet their needs?
  2. If you have a partner, how does caregiving affect your relationship, and vice versa?
  3. How are you making time for yourself?
  4. What is too much? Where is the line you cannot cross?
  5. How are you caring for your own physical and mental health?

Caregiver burnout is dangerous. It’s also “notoriously subtle” because “caring for an aging loved one tends to get more and more difficult,” warns Bursack:

“…There may come a time when [your parents] need more help than [you] can give them. Accepting this truth is not easy, but it is crucial, not only for the health and safety of your loved one, but also for your own well-being.”

What you can do:

Ask yourself Bursack’s questions — and ask them again on a regular basis. Your needs are going to change as your parent’s needs change.

Start looking for help before you need it. Check out the resources below for tips and strategies about how to think like a care manager and make time to care for yourself.

For More:

Thanks for caring,

Ethan signature graphic

New to My Aging Parents?

Join us for practical tips and strategies to help you meet the challenges of helping your aging parents. Hand picked and delivered by email biweekly.

No charge. No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.