The nights aren’t your friend. They haven’t been for some time. You’ve been a caregiver, perhaps for many months or even years. Looking after an elderly family member or close friend wasn’t something you planned on, not during your 20s or 30s or even most of your 40s. It was just something that happened, something that needed you when you weren’t thinking about such things.
You wouldn’t trade your ability to be there for this aging loved one, but at night… that’s when the thoughts, the doubts, and maybe even the guilt comes pouring in.
You keep thinking this is too much.
You want your life back. You want things to go back to being the way they were. Yet, you don’t want to feel like you’re selfish. That’s one of the toughest things for family caregivers to deal with: this idea that it they don’t want to do this job any longer, it will merely mean they don’t care.
That’s not what’s really happening, though. You care. In fact, you probably care more than a person has a right to care. Yet, you’re also human. You don’t want to keep going on this way, feeling like you’re losing control of your life.
You’ve given up more than you even realize, even at this point in your life. It doesn’t matter if you have a career, a full-time job, several part-time jobs, or you’re not working at this juncture in your life; being a caregiver for a family member or friend means you will give up a lot while doing it.
What’s the cost of caregiving?
Most people who lift up this coat called caregiving and slip their arms into the sleeves never think of the long-term impact it will have on them. This don’t think of it as a job.
As a result, they don’t understand just what it’s going to cost them. Not at first. Not in the beginning.
Yet, you eventually begin to realize all of the things you give up to care for this other person in your life. Time with your spouse or partner, close friends, your own children in their teenage years or young adult life, and so much more.
You may have even given up time at your primary profession, putting your job and maybe even your career on the line.
So, why do you feel guilty over this?
Mostly, it’s because you think about what others may think of you if you don’t want to continue doing this job. It’s important to realize that caregiving is a job, even if it’s for your spouse, aging parent, or other loved one.
You don’t have to feel guilty, though. Not in the least. When you realize the impact caregiving has on you and that home care is a great asset that can help you avoid burnout and encourage you to get back to other things in your life that are also important, you won’t feel guilty.
And maybe you’ll finally be able to sleep comfortable at night knowing you did the right thing.